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.
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
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:
We planned a 4-pronged approach:
So, for the Year of Faith, we will encourage Chicagoland Catholics to:
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:
Nov. 13 (moved up a week since Nov. 22 is Thanksgiving),
Dec. 11 (moved up one week due to holiday schedule),
August 13 and
This schedule avoids conflicts with Easter week too.
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:
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED ONLINE IN ADVANCE SO WE CAN GET
EVERYONE SEATED AT THE TABLES OF THEIR CHOICES AND
PREPARE THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF FOOD. WE WANT YOU TO HAVE
AN AWE-SOME EXPERIENCE!
PLEASE SHARE THE LINK TO THIS WEBSITE WITH ALL YOUR
CATHOLIC FRIENDS, FAMILY AND COLLEAGUES AT WORK.
SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS! SOMEONE YOU KNOW NEEDS TO HEAR A
GOOD WORD TODAY.
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.