A new catechetical approach was adopted this year at Saint-Bonaventure Parish. Once a month, people from different generations gather together to discover – or rediscover – the Word of God.
First, let us turn back to Pentecost 2018, when Saint-Bonaventure parish went through a pivotal moment. Inspired by Divine Renovation, a book from the well-known author James Mallon, Patrice Bergeron and Elisabeth Boily, the priest and the mission assistant of this parish, greenlighted a renewal project with the help of a small team. Their goal: introduce two new projects. First the Alpha sessions and second the “MIGs” (Matinées Inter-Générationnelles – Inter-generational mornings).
“Bringing together the ministries in accordance with the sacraments’ requirements, yet in a new way, was our wish,” Elisabeth Boily explained. Parents with children studying the Catechism were invited to gather monthly. Families were drawn very quickly to MIGs and others followed. “They did not feel like showing up at times, but they would go back home singing!”, said Elisabeth enthusiastically. On average, 40 to 50 families would come to MIGs before the 11 o’clock Mass on Sunday. “Though I find hard getting out of bed in the morning, this is a good start,” said one participant. Another one added: “This is a great way to bring fellowship.”
MIGs had a dual effect. First, parents started sharing their children’s journey through Catechism. It strengthened the parish as a community, as a result. We all got a greater sense of “who we are,” brothers and sisters no matter the age. “I got to develop friendships with other parishioners,” said joyfully one participant.
Families would gather once a month, at 9 a.m., to drink juice and coffee, and share croissants. It would give them time to slow down, to talk together. After short words of introduction, there would be music, singing and dancing, shared moments of praise and joy, followed afterwards by an inter-generational activity. They would watch a slide show, make puzzles to find the face of today’s Church, take part of a rally filled with biblical characters encounters… The facilitators in charge of the small groups did not lack imagination over the year.
Children and adults would then gather separately for an hour to follow their own path.
Often a short rundown would be given to adults to start discussions. Participants showed great appreciation for the testimonies given. Several were deeply moved by Brigitte Bédard’s own testimony. Auxiliary Bishop Faubert’s speech was unanimously praised. It helped ending the year on a strong note. “I would love for Bishop Faubert to come back and join us at a retreat,” said one parishioner at the end of the last MIG!
After the MIG, people would attend the 11 o’clock Mass and make it more festive than usual. There would be singers, a band, djembe music, and the homily would have a slide show in the background. “Three years ago, about one hundred people would come to Mass; now, we have about 300, all united in thanksgivings,” Elisabeth Boily exclaimed.
As for Father Bergeron, he thought best to hold the MIGs before the Mass in order for parishioners to feel part of the mission. Volunteers soon started showing up at MIGS to give a hand.
It is “mission accomplished” for this parish and its team wishes to renew the experience next year!