Small Christian Communities in the Diocese of Erie began as an outgrowth from the RENEW process which was held in the diocese between 1985 and 1988. At that time the diocese wrote a statement expressing its commitment to continue to nourish and support the development of small communities throughout the parishes of the diocese.

The diocese has adopted the work of Father Art Baranowski of the Archdiocese of Detroit as a basis for its endeavors in this area. These groups meet on a regular basis mostly in homes and attempt to integrate the five elements of community-prayer, support, sharing, learning and outreach or ministry into their format. Almost all of the parishes involved have trained facilitators and these facilitators meet on a monthly basis with the pastor and or Core Team.  

Please click on the links below to learn more:
  • Cycle A - Lenten Material for Small Groups - The church divides the Scripture Readings into 3 cycles. Cycle A, B and C rotate over a 3-year period each Sunday. These materials deal with the six weeks of Lent and is based on the readings for that Sunday.
  • Small Community Material based on the Liturgical Year - The general liturgical year material covers all the Sundays of the year and the readings, reflections and sharing questions are based on the Sunday Readings. This list contains material for Cycles A, B and C.

  • Sharing the Tradition Shaping the Future:  Six sessions meant to "enable adults to enter into and grow in awareness of the social justice traditions of the Church."
  • Preferential Option for the Poor:  Six sessions meant to explore options for and with low-income communities
  • Dignity of the Human Perso:  Six sessions meant to "enable adults to enter into and grow in awareness of the social justice traditions of the Church."
  • Solidarity with the Poor:  Six sessions meant to "enable adults to enter into and grow in awareness of the social justice traditions of the Church."
  • Catholic Campaign for Human Development 1-800-235-8722
  • Reading the Signs of the Times; Nora Petersen, Stephen Hicher, Hector Medini:  A seven week small group Process for social change. Available in English and Spanish. (Resource Publications, Inc., San Jose, CA,;  408-286-8505)
  • Dicipleship of Nonviolence, Betsy Clark, SSJ:  Practical ways to follow a path of nonviolence modeled on Jesus' example. Six sessions.  RENEW Impact series.  Order from RENEW Internaltional.
  • Called to Live Justly, Social Justice in Luke/Acts, Ann Marie Reardon & Kate Chambers:  12 Sessions on How Christians may live their commitment to social justice today. (Leaven Press.
  • Reflections on "Dead Man Walking,"S. Helen Prejean, CSJ and Lucille Sarrat:  Reflections on the Death Penalty and related Systems., 6 Sessions (RENEW Impact Series)

Lay Ministry Training is still used by some parishes for the certification of catechists and general adult education. Catechists who received formation in the Lay Ministry Training Program retain credit for work done in this program, provided the information was accurately provided to the diocesan office.

The Lay Ministry Training Program of the Diocese of Erie is open to anyone who does volunteer ministry in their parish or those seeking adult education.

Enrichment courses: There are eight courses which can be offered in your parish. The diocese will provide a presenter for these courses while the parish serves as the host. The courses are six hours each (typically three, 2-hour sessions).

Available courses:
Moral Decision Makeup (cc)
Old Testament (cc)
New Testament (cc)
Living the Sacraments (cc)
The Many Faces of Jesus (cc)
Eucharist: Our Great Thanksgiving
The Church: Sacrament of Christ

(cc) = Counts as part of diocesan catechist certification.

For additional information, call Sr. Nancy Fischer at 814-824-1210.