Digging deeper to find meaning

Small groups have always played a strong role in the life of the Church. Parish evangelisation cells are simply an extension of this.

A Parish Evangelisation Cell (PEC) is a fortnightly gathering of 7-14 people, coming together for an hour and a half in a structured way. The fortnightly cell meeting provides an opportunity for prayer, teaching and discussion, sharing, mutual support and nourishment in the faith journey. The members of each cell also share with each other how they are managing to evangelise and communicate their faith with others and how God is working in their lives.

In May this year, after 18 months of planning, a trip to Italy to attend an international seminar on the PEC system, parish assemblies sharing the vision with parishioners, leader training sessions and lots of prayer, the PEC system commenced cell meetings in the Chisholm region.  Initially there were four groups meeting fortnightly in various host homes. Some 40 people participate in these cell meetings, each looking to a deepening relationship with Christ. A highlight of the cell meeting and a major component for discussion is a ten-minute video teaching from parish priest of the Chisholm Region, Fr Paul O’Neill, on various topics. This is proving to be a great source of formation for cell members with discussion questions leading members to dig deeper to find meaning.

The PEC system is a tool being used in conjunction with the Chisholm Pastoral Region pastoral plan as a way of evangelising both to those within our parish communities and those who are not present at Eucharistic celebrations. Part of the idea of the parish cells is that people can come to a small gathering and be supported in their faith journey, whether they are engaged Catholics or not. The cell meeting is low key in a friendly and welcoming environment.

Why is it called a parish cell rather than a group? We are all called to evangelise, therefore each parish cell member is tasked with the responsibility to go out and evangelise to the oikos the people we interact with in our daily lives through family, friends, work, sport and social circles. The life of the cell means that the group grows in numbers by inviting people to come and join a parish cell. When the cell reaches 12-14 people, it becomes two new cells and the process begins again.




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