ROUND-UP: 6 Lenten Small Group Studies for Year A


Merry Christmas, everyone! As we gear up for the new calendar year, I thought I’d share with you some Lenten small group studies that haven’t already been featured here on the blog. If you’d like to add your own recommendations, please leave a comment below.

As always, this is not an exhaustive list, just a way to showcase what the major publishers are putting out. (To see last year’s round-ups of Lenten Small Group Studies, click here and here. Be sure to make sure that the resource you choose is for Year A or for any liturgical cycle!)

If you want to get a full month of marketing/promotion for your Lenten small groups before your official launch date, then now is the time to get those orders in! Here’s a sample of what the publishers are offering:

#1) Reflecting on the Lenten Scriptures Cycle A (video options) by Catechist’s Journey (Loyola Press)

  • Price: FREE (just sign up with your email address to receive the slideshow and discussion materials)
  • Click here for more information.

Description from publisher, Loyola Press:

Jesus was often surrounded by large crowds, clamoring to hear the Teacher speak. But Jesus first was only known to a small group, the Apostles. After the Resurrection, the Disciples continued spreading Jesus’ message to other small groups—the Philippians, the Ephesians, the Corinthians—and the tradition of small groups of devoted followers continues to this day.

Foster and encourage small groups in your own parish with this month’s free downloads—a PowerPoint presentation to use in training small group facilitators and handouts for Reflecting on the Lenten Scriptures of Year B. Use the handouts as your discussion materials for small faith groups this Lent.

#2) Walking the WayFollowing Jesus on the Lenten Journey of Gospel Nonviolence by John Dear (2015)

Description from publisher, 23rd Publications:

Deeply personal and uncompromisingly committed to peace, these prayer reflections on Jesus’ life and death challenge the notion that support of violence at any level is compatible with a life in Christ. Drawing on the insights of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others, Dear shows us how we can practice gospel nonviolence, be apostles of peace, and change the world.

Perfect for personal reflection or small group discussion, these meditations invite us to “participate in our own inner disarmament and cultivate our true nonviolent nature” as we follow the Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God. A timely, important, and inspiring book for our times.

#3) Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit by Paula Huston (2011)

Description from publisher, Ave Maria Press:

“What are you giving up for Lent this year?” It’s the expected question amongst Christian friends each spring. In Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit, Huston asks her readers a deeper, alternative sort of question: “How will you rid your life of excess this Lent?” She encourages readers to see Lent as a time to seek out silence and free themselves of “stuff” and to acknowledge the connections between what they pray about and what they do.

#4) Lent and Holy Week: Bridges to Contemplative Living Series by The Merton Institute for Contemplative Living (2009)

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

Description from publisher, Ave Maria Press:

Lent and Holy Week opens the writings of Thomas Merton in easily digestible pieces and eloquently pairs them with the words of other great spiritual thinkers. Designed for use in new or existing small groups between Ash Wednesday and Easter, this booklet offers readers an accessible introduction to contemplative dialogue and is built around eight compelling Lenten themes:

  • Week of Ash Wednesday: Where Do We Turn for Forgiveness?
  • 1st Week of Lent: Living More Deeply in Christ
  • 2nd Week of Lent: A Season for Compunction and Tears
  • 3rd Week of Lent: In All Things, Always Seeking God
  • 4th Week of Lent: Choosing with Christ to Love the World
  • 5th Week of Lent: In the Service of Peace through Humility and Prayer
  • Holy Week: Returning to the Source of Our Unity in Christ
  • The Resurrection of the Lord: Liberated to Redeem the World

#5) Threshold Bible Study (3 options): People of the Passion, Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Jesus, or The Tragic & Triumphant Cross by Stephen J. Binz

Description from publisher, 23rd Publications:

Threshold Bible Study is a thematic Scripture study program, designed for both personal study and group discussion. The characters, places, and images that you will encounter in each of these topical studies will help you explore new dimensions of your faith and discover deeper insights for your spiritual life.

#6) Lenten Longings: Let Yourself Be… – Year A by Catherine T. Nerney, S.S.J., Ph.D (2010)

  • Price: $7.95/book (quantity price available)
  • Click here to sample the book.
  • Description from publisher, RENEW International:

The Lenten Longings series is based on the three-year cycle of the lectionary. Each book contains six sessions corresponding to the six weeks of Lent and presents themes drawn from the year’s Lenten readings. Let Yourself Be …—Year A encourages participants to embrace the teaching of Christ that authentic loving involves self-surrender.

This post has been updated — originally published December 2014.


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