Connections to the Cross: A Lenten Journey

Small Group Discussion Facilitators

2014 Small Group Discussion Facilitators

My name is Wendy Scherwenka and on behalf of the leaders of the 17 small groups offered by St. Robert and Holy Family parishes, I would like to extend a very warm invitation to you. The weekly gatherings are a beautiful opportunity to strengthen and/or create a personal bond with Jesus – special and unique for you.

I agreed to participate not because I am a biblical scholar, but because I see this as an opportunity to marinate in the prayers and readings, discover how they speak to my heart and to connect with Jesus on a very personal level.

We have been meeting as a small group of leaders for the last 4 weeks, initially as a group of strangers.  We spend our time praying, contemplating , reading bible passages, sharing insights , feelings & experiences – opening ourselves up to Jesus and each other. It’s very gentle and comfortable – and it just happens.   I am seeing how this special time spent with Jesus affects each person in the group in amazingly different and beautiful ways. And for me personally, there has been a whole new life and light breathed into these words of scripture that I can feel deeply in my heart. I am so grateful and treasure the special bonds being formed and strengthened in my personal faith and with our community. It is a wonderful gift.

We would be honored to have you join us. There are many gatherings to choose from.   You can contact Greg Kelsch (, 332-9220) or Merridith Frediani (, 962-1289) for more information or to sign up. We would love to hear from you by this Friday.

Blessings to you and have a fantastic day.

 Wendy Scherwenka


St. Robert Begins Small Group Ministry Program

Connection to Christ Logo“Small group ministries played a key role in my love for Christ and the Catholic Church. As a high school junior, I faced a crisis in faith with the divorce of my parents. I was a cradle Catholic, but did not really understand how Christ calls us to have a relationship with Him, or what it looks like. I was fortunate to experience two small groups that changed my life. I was blessed to go on a retreat, similar to Kairos, that awoke me to our faith. I then participated in two small groups that opened me up to prayer, scripture, and evangelization. Learning that it was okay to talk about my faith with other students was incredibly powerful — to be able to share my passions, my dreams, my doubts, my fears. And to talk with Christ about the same things! My friendship with Christ became personal through these small groups (Bob Weinschrott, Small Group Facilitator).”

On September 21, St. Robert and Holy Family Parishes will begin a new, dynamic ministry to foster intentional disciples. Referred to as Small Group Discussions, these groups of six to ten people will meet once per week for 90 minutes, for seven weeks. The groups will discuss topics such as Friendship with Christ, Prayer, Scripture, Eucharist, and Community. The discussions will be facilitated by parishioners who have themselves participated in small groups. Some groups will gather in the facilitator’s home, and others will gather at the Parish. All will provide a great opportunity to talk about issues of faith and discipleship in a personal setting that provides for a sincere exchange of views in an environment where each individual has opportunities to contribute and to learn.

These Small Group Discussions supplement the two Small Faith Communities that currently meet in the Parish. The Small Faith Communities gather monthly to discuss the next Sunday’s Scripture readings, and the issues they raise in members’ lives. The new small groups will take a more topical approach, not as closely linked to the week’s readings (but with regular reference to Scripture), and have what might be characterized as a more structured progression through faith issue. The two formats are not exclusive or competitive, but provide Parish members a variety of ways to encounter Christ and develop their relationship with Him, as well as friendships with fellow parishioners.

Start dates and times for the small groups are:

Sundays:  Start Sept. 21 – 7:00 p.m. (during teen nights; no Packer nights)
Mondays:  Start Oct. 6 – 6:30 p.m. (near St. Robert)
Mondays:  Start Sept. 22 – 6:30 p.m. (near Holy Family)
Wednesdays:  Start Sept. 24 – 1:00 p.m.
Thursdays:  Start Sept. 25 – 9:15 a.m.
Fridays:  Start Oct. 3 – 6:00 a.m.
Fridays:  Start Sept. 26 – 9:15 a.m.

Flyers with more information will be distributed in the pews at the September 6 and 13th Masses. St. Robert parishioners who would like more information are encouraged to contact Merridith Frediani, 962-1289 or Holy Family parishioners should contact Greg Kelsch, 332-9220 or

Small Group Discussion Facilitators

Small Group Discussion Facilitators

Back row; L-R: John Hubbard, Katy Lukazewski, Ann Hains, Bob Weinschrott, Sue Wustrack, Sarah Kelsch, Greg Kelsch.  On chair: Mike Dunn, Merridith Frediani

Social Media Ministry Witness Talk, August 16 & 17, 2014

Hello everybody, my name is Steven Colagiovanni and I am the Volunteer Social Media Minister here at St. Robert. I just want to take a few moments today to tell you about our Parish’s increased communications activities as we move toward becoming intentional disciples as laid out in Father Dennis’s new vision for the parish. To facilitate the expansion of our communications, parishioner Jim McDonald has volunteered to serve as our social media reporter, writing articles about events and organizations within our Parish so that you, the parishioners, know what is going on here at St. Robert. We are working to make better use of social media (especially Facebook and WordPress) to disseminate information about Parish ministries and activities. Updates on events in the Parish and Archdiocese are a regular feature on the Parish Facebook site, which you can access at, or by just searching St. Robert of Newminster Catholic Parish in the search bar on Facebook.

If you do not have a Facebook account, we encourage you to try it out. It is not only a great way to interact with the Parish, but social media are one of the most important avenues for witnessing to our faith in the modern world. Pope Francis has a very active Twitter account and the Pope App is a great way to stay up-to-date with what is going on in the global Church. When you visit the Parish site, please make sure to hit the “like” button so that you will continue to see content that we post on your news feed. This also helps us see that our efforts are reaching our community. Please feel free to comment on articles and information we share, as well as share photos you take of events at St. Robert. When we start interacting on Facebook together, it can be a powerful tool for building our community and interacting with one another. We also have created a WordPress blog called “Discerning Disciples” that has published Father Dennis’ reflections on discipleship, an introduction of our new Associate, Father Peter Patrick, and other articles related to events and people in our Parish. You can access our blog directly at, or by accessing the articles when we share them on Facebook. The title of our blog reflects our mission as Catholics to prayerfully discern God’s will for us in our lives as we seek to live as disciples of Jesus Christ.

In addition to Facebook and the “Discerning Disciples” blog we will also begin sending out a monthly e-mail newsletter that will provide information about events at St. Robert as well as links to blog posts and articles related to our community.

If you have any questions regarding how to access our Facebook page or the blog please e-mail me at We are developing a flyer that we will provide in Church in the future that will have further instructions for how to access our social media outlets.

In the future, the Facebook site will continue to feature short updates on events and activities, with links to more in-depth information on “Discerning Disciples” and the Parish website. Facebook will also provide opportunities for parishioners to provide feedback via comments and to add their own content, such as their photos of Parish events. The blog will feature longer articles, coordinated with the monthly ministry witness talks, as well as the reflections of our pastors.

Please become involved with our social media ministry, we look forward to seeing you online! Thank you.