ROUND-UP: 6 Advent Small Group Studies for Year C

With this being my third year of Advent round-ups, I’ve already featured most of the major Catholic publishers’ lectionary-based Advent studies (which you’re welcome to take a look at here and here). This year, I thought I’d include some options that weren’t based on the Sunday readings, but could work just as well during the season of Advent.

The first Sunday of Advent is on November 29, 2015, so some groups may be meeting as early as November 22. Just like before, this is just to give you an idea of what’s out there. To read about how to effectively promote your Advent small groups, check out this post. If you’re looking for a film-based Advent study, check this post out.

#1) The Holy Year of Mercy (2015)

  • Price: $9.56 (online price)/book
  • Click here to sample the book.

Description from publisher, The Word Among Us:

Pope Francis has focused on the theme of God’s mercy since the beginning of his pontificate. Now he has declared an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, a holy year beginning on December 8, 2015 and lasting until the feast of Christ the King on November 20, 2016. This faith-sharing guide will give readers—and even entire parishes—an opportunity to participate in this holy year in a meaningful way.

Each of the eight sessions features a Gospel passage followed by a homily on that passage given by Pope Francis. Questions for reflection and discussion focus on both the Scripture text and the homily. Related Scripture passages are included, as well as an action step that can be used to grow in the practice and understanding of God’s mercy.

  • Rich in the various Scripture texts and themes related to mercy.
  • For individuals or groups.

#2) Sacred Reading for Advent and Christmas 2015-16

  • Price: $1.25/book
  • Click here to sample the book.

Description from publisher, Ave Maria Press:

Beginning with Advent and continuing through the Christmas season, including solemnities and select feast days, Sacred Reading for Advent and Christmas 2015-2016 is a practical resource for anyone who is interested in a deeper prayer life or seeking a new approach to praying and living the scriptures. The prayer book includes brief, seasonally inspired quotes from Popes Francis, Benedict XVI, and St. John Paul II, and guides readers to read, reflect, pray, and respond to the Word of God in a way that is both familiar and fresh.

Features & Benefits:

  • Perfect for parishwide distribution during Advent and Christmas.
  • Simple, successful, time-honored prayer method; Ignatian spirituality and lectio divina are perennially popular.

#3) Exploring Advent with Luke: Four Questions for Spiritual Growth (2012)

  • Price: $5.00/book
  • Click here to sample the book.

Description from publisher, Ave Maria Press:

In Exploring Advent with Luke: Four Questions for Spiritual Growth, Timothy Clayton deftly shows how Luke composed this first chapter of his gospel to deepen understanding of the birth of Jesus and how meditation on the four questions posed by its main characters can help resolve issues that hinder the joy of Christmas. Designed to be used on a weekly basis through Advent and during the Twelve Days of Christmas, this reflective guide is ideal for individual and small-group use. Clayton’s insight is reminiscent of Henri Nouwen or Thomas Merton and brings the story of Christ’s birth to life anew.

#4) Sacred Space for Advent and the Christmas Season 2015-16

Description from publisher, Loyola Press:

Sacred Space—Advent invites readers to develop a closer relationship with God during this season of preparation and anticipation. What we know and trust about the Sacred Space online prayer experience is now available in a compact, portable print format to heighten our Advent prayer practice in a way that is accessible, engaging, and meaningful to daily life.

Throughout the Advent season, each day includes a Scripture reading and points of reflection, as well as a weekly topic enhanced by six steps of prayer and reflection. With its small size and meaningful message, Sacred Space—Advent is a simple way to build a richer relationship with God and embrace the Advent season as a sacred space.

#5) Living in the Father’s Love (Women’s Study)

Description from Walking With Purpose:

Living in the Father’s Love, a six lesson course, is a brief but powerful study meant to revive and refresh us as we discover just how much God loves us! In this study, we learn how the Gospels are deeply relevant to our relationships, both with God and with those we love. A DVD which includes the opening and closing talks for the study, accompanies this short course. Living in the Father’s Love is perfect for the season of Advent or Lent, as a summer study, or as an introduction to the twenty-two session Walking with Purpose courses.

#6) The Way: A Catholic Small Group Bible Discussion Guide (2010)

Description from author, The Evangelical Catholic:

6-Week Small Group Scripture Discussion Guide

Our best seller explores Catholic Christian discipleship: friendship with Christ; prayer; the Eucharist; encountering Jesus in the Scripture; Christian community, and interior conversion.

Thought provoking questions on Scriptures draw participants into a deeper encounter with Jesus Christ, “the reason for the hope that we hold” (1 Peter 3:15). When we know Jesus, we want God to be the center of our lives. Then we truly become Jesus’ disciples: recognizing his voice and following where he leads because we trust him.

Each study offers a “Connecting to Christ” section inspiring readers to open their hearts to Jesus in a new way, allowing him to transform every part of their lives.

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