The following is a summary of how the Year of Faith Networking Bible Study which took place
in 2012-2013 (during the Year of Faith) came to be.
If you want to know how this all began
and what it is all about, read below.
    The following provides a not-so-brief outline of the Networking Bible Study
    program that a group of regular but very enthusiastic lay people plan to implement
    in the Chicago Loop for the Year of Faith.  This plan has the blessing of Cardinal
    George, and we are working with Fr. James McIlhone, Director of Biblical
    Formation for Archdiocese of Chicago to prepare a program worthy of Chicagoland

    The Beginning:

    In early June 2012, a couple of regular, every-day Catholics got the idea to fill the
    Palmer House ballroom (or equivalent) with Catholics at all levels of their spiritual
    journey to study the Bible, meet other fun and interesting Catholics and get a little
    closer to God.  We envisioned a multi-faceted approach that:

  • coupled networking with Bible Study
  • included both social and business networking
  • met the needs of even the busiest Catholic
  • would be suitable for both those who had not studied their faith since 8th
    grade and those who regularly study the Bible, and
  • would bring together Catholics in a community of faith.

    We planned a 4-pronged approach:

  • 1) A monthly gathering after work in the Loop with a Scripture scholar giving
    perhaps a 30 - 45 minute talk, networking before the talk and table discussion
    afterwards.  There would be a Cash Bar so folks could have a glass of wine
    and relax for a few minutes with other great Catholics.  

  • 2) In addition, there would be online Bible Study to accompany the Book
    being studied that month for individuals who cannot attend a weekly Bible
    study but who want to do more than just attend once a month.

  • 3)  For those who cannot or do not want to do the online study, we will
    encourage them to just read one chapter a day of the book we are studying.  
    That in itself is no small task for many!  

  • 4) For those who want to do more, we will form a couple of weekly Bible
    Studies that will  meet before or after work, or perhaps during the lunch hour
    in a loop location, most likely at St. Peter's (110 W. Madison).

    So, for the Year of Faith, we will encourage Chicagoland Catholics to:
  • Do a little more this year than they did last year.
  • Do a little more this month than they did last month.  
  • If they can't make it this month, come next month!  
  • It's the No-Guilt-Get-To-Know-God-Plan.  
  • Do what you can, but do something!     
  • Set aside a little bit of time to be with God and the community of faith for the
    Year of Faith.  


    The plan was to have it at a venue where people can enjoy a glass of wine and
    some appetizers. Hey! Jesus was a big believer of building community using food.  
    So we started by getting pricing at some big hotels ($2000 - $4000 per event
    minimum) and at a business club in the Loop ($8000 per event minimum).  We
    were grousing about these facts one day, when we received an e-mail from a
    restaurant at which one of us holds some attorney networking events - The
    Elephant & Castle. We decided to see if they had a space that would hold about
    200. They had a room (111 W. Adams) that holds 150.  The price was a fraction of
    what we had been quoted.  It is ultra convenient to the train stations for those who
    work in the Loop and commute to the burbs.  We booked the venue for 12 months
    and have already paid $4200 to hold it, because we want the program to continue
    even if we get run over by a bus (or multiple buses...) tomorrow.


    We wanted to keep the price minimal.  We did not want this to be viewed as a
    money making proposition. Plus, we are just a group of every day lay Catholics -
    not an "organization" or a Non-Profit.   We did not want to be viewed in any way
    as running a business or making money.  So, we plan to request a $10 donation at
    the door to help cover the food and speaker stipend for that evening.   There will be
    a cash bar so folks can order what they want to drink - wine, beer, coke, etc.  If we
    were to have 150 people, we could take in $1500.  The donation will hopefully
    cover the food and the speaker stipend.  We are not looking to recoup our $4200 or
    any of the costs we will spend on advertising.  We are glad to do this.  We have had
    several offers from individuals to help pay for the speaker stipends or help with the
    food for one of the evenings and/or be a corporate sponsors. The enthusiasm for
    the program has been outstanding just from those who have heard about it.

    We are following Jesus' advice on this: And He summoned the twelve and began to
    send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits; and He
    instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff-
    no bread, no bag, no money in their belt- but to wear sandals.  

    We plan to cover costs for each night from session to session and carry nothing into
    the future. If we take in more than we need for a particular session, whatever is
    collected over expenses will be donated to one of the designated Catholic charities
    or organizations below. We think this could be about $500, but if people or
    companies come forward to help cover costs, that could be way more.  We will do
    a drawing at each meeting to determine the recipient charity or organization. (If
    there is not $500 left over, we will make up the difference personally.)  
    Designated charities are:

    Each attendee who stays for the Discussion Round will be able to write his or her
    choice on a ticket and we will draw a name out of a hat!  Theoretically, if a
    particular organization's name were drawn every month, that could amount to  
    $6000 to that organization!  You can support one of these organizations just by
    showing up and bringing your friends!


    We anticipate doors opening at 5:15 p.m.. We will have about a half hour of open
    but structured networking with the program starting at 5:45.  Opening prayer and 5
    minutes of introduction.  People sit at tables of 8-10 and go around the table  
    introducing themselves to each other - 10 minutes. This gives time for latecomers to
    arrive without interrupting the speaker. 6:00- speaker for 30-45 minutes  Done at 6:
    30-45. I do not plan to have people ask questions of the speaker. They can ask
    privately afterwards or discuss in their groups.  We have a tight time schedule.  
    Take a 15 minute break. Those who want to stay for discussion can then reform at
    different tables and meet different people. Discussion questions will be provided.
    This could last until about  7:30.


    We had originally planned to have the events on Monday night, but I take
    communion to a hospice patient, and Henry reminded me that we should not expect
    Jesus to compete with Monday night football!  So we moved the dates to Tuesday
    evenings. Here are all 12 dates:

    October 23
    Nov. 13 (moved up a week since Nov. 22 is Thanksgiving),
    Dec. 11 (moved up one week due to holiday schedule),

    Jan. 22
    Feb. 19
    March 19
    April 16
    May 21
    June 18
    July 23
    August 13 and
    Sept. 17

    This schedule avoids conflicts with Easter week too.

    Networking Format

    We plan to have a registration system that will allow you to sign up to sit at his or
    her choice of tables when the program begins.  Upon registration you can choose to
    sit at tables for:
  • Business Networking - Make a few good connections
  • Social Networking - Make a few new friends
  • General - Let God decide who I meet
  • Alumni Networking - Connect with others who went to your college or
    university. The Notre Dame Club of Chicago will be promoting the program
    to its alumni for the Year of Faith, and we will have tables designated for ND
    alumni. Spread the word among your classmates.  If you check that option,
    we will seat you with other alums from your college who also choose that
    option.  Contact your alumni club to have them added to the list!

    After the talk, we will take a break and those who can stay for discussion will
    reform into new groups.  Those who have to catch a train are free to leave.  When
    a person registers, they can sign up for a  particular discussion level: beginner,
    general, advanced.  Why? Because a beginner who gets stuck at a table with a
    couple of folks talking about eschatology probably will not open his or her
    mouth...   We want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome!!! (This writer will
    be sitting at the beginner table and proud to be there!  Why do you think I'm doing
    this???)  We may even pay seminarians to sit at the beginner tables to help lead the

    This is real networking. Leading the networking program is the former Chair of
    Networking from 2003 - 2011for the Notre Dame Club of Chicago, the largest
    alumni club in the country.  For those of you who are not comfortable networking,
    you will learn some skills here that will serve you well in your other business
    networking events. She has also been the head of a 650+ nationwide attorney
    network for the last 20 years, and has a networking group of VERY active
    Catholics called The Non-Crabby Women and Select Non-Crabby Men of Faith!   
    We will make you feel welcome and help you master networking (not just throw
    you into a big room and let the most gregarious survive.... yeegads, how is that

    Welcoming Committee

    We will  have a welcoming committee for each session drawn from the Catholic
    business community to greet people and make them feel welcome upon arrival.   
    Joyce Duriga, Editor of the Catholic New World, will head our first welcoming


    We are lining up some of the finest authorities on the Bible in the area to speak to
    you! Watch here for the list of speakers as they are confirmed.

    Subject Matter:

    We are  still confirming the topics, but here are our thoughts about how we plan to
    proceed. This is subject to revision, but the first month will be an overview of the
    Bible, how to study the bible and some other important concepts pertaining to Bible

    We like the plan of studying a particular book a month. That way, if someone
    cannot make it a particular month, they can pick up the next month without feeling
    like they won't understand what we are doing, because we will be doing a new book
    (or feeling guilty).  That also makes it easy for people to at least read a verse a day.  

    We also like the thought of themes.  We wanted to choose books  that deal with
    certain themes that face the every day Catholic. In other words, if we started with
    Acts, that might be a great place to give people the concept of going forth, building
    a faith community.  On the other hand, if we do Mark first, that would give a great
    introduction to someone who doesn't understand the synoptic gospels and how they
    each differ and how John differs from the other three.  

  • So we plan to do an Introduction/Overview at the first kickoff meeting in
  • Then start with Mark (November) Theme: How God acts in our lives.
  • Then maybe Matthew (December) for contrast so they get an understanding
    that the authors were writing to different audiences. (Theme: Answering the
    Call  when you didn't even Know God had your number!) Matthew will be
    great during Advent since we will also be reading Matthew at mass then.
  • Then maybe John (Jan) for a change up. Theme: Love Never Fails.   
  • Acts would lead us into Lent (Feb) (Theme: Building the Kingdom of God -
    How do we do it?)
  • Maybe we'll do the Pauline letters in March since it will still be Lent.  
  • Second quarter Old Testament Basics: April  why not Genesis?  We might as
    well start at the beginning!
  • May - we should take a look at a Prophet don't you think? Isaiah is one of the
    most prominent.  
  • June - JOB.  I think many can relate to poor Job. We should wind up this
    quarter of the Old Testament with Job and taking a look at the most difficult
    of all questions: suffering.   
  • July let's get back to the New Testament:  return to Luke to get in the last
    Gospel and refresh our memory about what we learned in Mark and
  • August - It would probably be good to take a look at the social justice
    prophets of the Old Testament: Amos and Hosea.  What was the message and
    is the message the same for us today?
  • September - Revelation - The End Game and How to Prepare for it.

    We hope to get more input from the speakers themselves.   Each will probably have
    a preferred books or subject matter, so this tentative schedule may change.

    Video Taping

    We are considering whether to video tape the sessions and then post them to the
    web site. We hope to create a model that can be posted to the web site and then
    used by other parishes, even in other dioceses.  Videotaping it  would make it a
    very useful tool for parishes to use in the future since we would have both a video
    they could watch and the individual bible studies.  Perhaps someone who is as
    moved to spread the Gospel as we are will volunteer their services to do it.  We
    want the materials to be used freely by anyone in the Archdiocese, in any diocese,
    in any part of the world and even non-Catholics. Audio taping may also be
    sufficient.  We are currently getting quotes for the video taping.


    We are advertising in the Catholic New World. They will do the layout and design.
    We ran a half page ad in the Sept. 11 issue and there will also be an ad in the Sept
    23 issue which has an extra 35,000 copies going to parishes.  The following issue
    will have THREE half page adds!  Hey!  We believe in this so we're going for it!

    In speaking with Sheila Liaugminas (News Director, Relevant Radio), we thought
    the third week in September would be a good time to go on her show and get the
    word out. We plan to post the registration link to the web site on Sept. 23.  


    We are already getting questions like, "Is there a study Bible you recommend?" We
    are gathering that information and plan to have copies of these types of materials at
    the first session for you to check out.  We won't sell them, but you can get them at
    either the bookstore in the basement of St. Peter's (110 W. Madison) or at Pauline
    Books & Media, 172 N. Michigan Ave. Of course you may have your favorite
    online source too.  I have been scanning the Internet for really cool Bible Study
    materials and buying up stuff when I find a good price. I plan to give these things
    away at the sessions.   The other day, I bought 15 copies of The Bible at a Glance -
    Faith Chart by Scott Hahn. I plan to put one on each table so you can enjoy then
    while at the event.

    This is the outline of the plan.  We hope you are as excited as we are.  We hope
    you join us on October 23 and every month thereafter.  MAKE a few hours each
    month for yourself to get just a little closer to God in this Year of Faith.




    The door will be open, and we will be waiting!   

    If you would like to be part of this endeavor (more than just attending), have great
    ideas,  or see some way your talent could help, send an e-mail to MyFaithNet@aol.