ROUND-UP: 4 Advent Small Group Studies

Well, it’s that time of the year again — time to order Advent materials for your small group! If you haven’t already started thinking about what your small group will be covering for this upcoming Advent season, hopefully today’s round-up will give you an idea of what the publishers are offering. This by no means is meant to be an exhaustive list, but simply a way to get you going on your search for materials.

This year, the first Sunday of Advent falls on December 1, 2013, so this means some groups could start meeting as soon Sunday, November 24. Get those orders in while it’s on your radar!

#1) Rediscover Advent by Matthew Kelly

  • Price: $8.99/book
  • Click here to sample the book.
  • Click here for the Small Group Study Guide.
  • Click here to read Amazon Customer Reviews of the book.

Description from publisher, Franciscan Media:

From the author of the bestselling book Rediscover Catholicism comes an inspiring new way to rediscover Advent. In this new book you will find:

  • brief citations from the daily lectionary readings
  • reflections on the beauty and importance of the Catholic faith and practice
  • thought-provoking questions for meditation and brief prayers

These timely and inspirational words will help renew your enthusiasm for being Catholic, while encouraging you to delve more deeply into the spirituality of the Advent season—a perfect companion for individual reading or for group study.

#2) The Unsheltered Heart by Ronald Patrick Raab, CSC (2010)

  • Price: $5.95/booklet
  • Click here to sample and read reviews of the book.

Description from publisher, Ave Maria Press:

In the spirit of Henri Nouwen and Mother Teresa, Ronald Raab writes from the depths of his own conversion experiences. Living and working among some of the poorest and most marginalized people of Portland, Oregon, Raab wrestles with the meaning of the Incarnation in today’s fractured world and with his own identity as a Catholic priest who is called to promote the Gospel message of justice.

Stories of Raab’s life and ministry, interpreted alongside the Sunday Gospel readings, bring startling clarity to the profound challenges facing Catholics today. This at-home, self-directed retreat is based on the Sunday Gospel readings for Cycle A and the life-anchoring lessons Raab has gleaned from them. His narrative style unsettles, challenges, enlightens, yet in the end offers the hope of Christ.

#3) Advent and Christmas by The Merton Institute for Contemplative Living (2010)

  • Price: $5.95/booklet
  • Click here to sample the book.

Description from publisher, Ave Maria Press:

In this accessible introduction to the writings of Thomas Merton, small-group participants are led on a path of spiritual growth from the first week of Advent through Christmas. Each of the book’s five sessions focuses on a distinct theme: hope, salvation, compassion, tenderness, or incarnation. The structure of each session includes prayers, a brief thematic introduction, probing dialogue questions, and a reading from Merton paired with a reading from one of five other spiritual masters, including Gerard Thomas Straub, Anne D. LeClaire, Olivier Clément, Michael Casey, and Christopher Bamford. This contemplative approach provides a welcoming haven during the midst of a hectic season for existing small groups or for those looking for deeply rewarding reflection on the meaning of Advent and Christmas.

#4) Advent Awakenings: Trust the Lord by Renew International

  • Price: $7.95/book (quantity price applicable)
  • Click here to sample and access free downloadable resources for the series.

Description from publisher, Renew International:

Advent Awakenings, a four-session faith-sharing experience grounded in the Sunday Gospel readings, provides an opportunity to get away once each week from the shopping and cooking and decorating and feel again the excitement of waiting for the Lord. Year A: Trust the Lord: Urges participants to have confidence that God’s challenging call, as proclaimed by John the Baptist, is the true way to prepare for union with Christ.

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