What do you do at your meetings? Are they structured and forma!, or casual and laid back? Here are a few suggestions about improving the quality of your meetings. (This was taken from a letter from Fr. Ed Keel, SM.)




Prayer Obviously prayer will have a place at your meetings. The importantthing to remember is that while vocal prayers are good and helpful, there is also a need for silence, just to sit in silence with our loving God. May I recommend that as part of your prayer at your meetings, you invite everyone to five minutes of silent prayer and adoration?

Spiritual Development The main purpose of your meetings is spiritual development. This is the component that should occupy the bulk of the time at your meetings. It should be educational: your members should go away from the meeting feeling they have learned something. There are many ways to handle this part of the meeting: guest speakers, the exercises suggested by the formation leaflets you all have; reading and discussion of something from the Marist books in your group library (you don't need permission to photocopy any of the material in those books.) I believe that it is only if the meetings are interesting, educational, informative, and spiritually profitable will your membership keep coming. And only if what you offer at your meetings provides nourishment for people's spiritual hunger, and shows them how to grow spiritually, will new members be attracted to join.

Business Any kind of group activity will require that some business be discussed from time to time. But it is important that the business part of your meetings not take up too much time, and not get bogged down. The business part of the meeting should normally come after the spiritual development part of the meeting. And it is best, if whenever possible, your council of officers have discussed the business beforehand and have clear proposals to make to the group. The group must be allowed to discuss the proposals freely, and make decisions freely, but the process must be expedited so that you don't get bogged down.

Social There should always be a social component to your meetings. Spiritual friendship is an important element of Marist lay life, and this will develop as people get to know one another. And, most important, guests and new members must be made to feel at home, made to feel more the center of attention, and not feel lost on the periphery of the group.

Joy Joy was the hallmark of Mary's life, a deep spiritual joy underlying even the dark moments of her life. Joy is the hallmark of being Marist. Joy, friendliness, hospitality; this is the spirit that should pervade your meetings!