Friars Corner: How to form parish Fire Groups

Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19; 1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20; Ps 40:2, 4, 7-10; John 1:35-42

I pray you received the Epiphany Home Blessing of the Magi I gave you last week. As I wrote then, we officially ended the Christmas Season of only two weeks. However, in your personal prayer and thoughts you can continue to pray about what God did in those awesome events of Christ’s birth, the shepherds, kings and other visitors who went to visit and welcome Jesus to earth. No other birthday has been celebrated so universally for two thousand years.

Now we go back to ordinary time until Lent begins. This week we read about Eli and Samuel in the temple. God called young Samuel three times while he slept. He got up and went to Eli, who was asleep and who had not called the lad. Finally Eli realized God called him. Eli told Samuel if he heard the call again to simply say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”

Psalm 40 has us responding to God’s call in our lives, “Here am I Lord, I come to do your will.” And St. Paul tells the Corinthians and us that since our baptism God came to live in us unless we tell him to leave through serious sins. Each of the baptized also is a temple of the living God. We then must reverence one another. Yes?

This first chapter of St. John’s gospel tells the story of St. John the Baptist pointing out Jesus as the Lamb of God. James and John followed Jesus who asked them what they were looking for. They asked Jesus where he was staying. Jesus told them, “Come and see.” They did that day, and for the rest of their lives. Are we part of God’s kingdom because our parents or someone else told us about it?

Fountain of living water

God opened up a new renewal movement at a Duquesne college retreat north of Pittsburgh, PA, at the Ark and the Dove, 51 years ago on February 18, 1967. That movement became the largest worldwide renewal movement in our church, known now as the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. A group of priests still meet at the Ark and the Dove center almost weekly. Last year at a Wednesday Holy Hour, God said he was opening a new “fountain of living water” that will be greater than the last. A few weeks later he said he was going to bring people to that place and set them more on fire with his love. Then he would send them out to start other Jesus Fire Groups. He wants to see these Fire Groups burning with his love all over the world.

What is the nature of these “Fire Groups?” Are they to be new Charismatic groups? No. He wants us to look at those in our parishes who already know and love Jesus, most of whom go to daily Mass. God wants “saints or faithful disciples” to gather in groups of two to three or four, after Mass in church or private homes at other times. They meet for only about fifteen or so minutes to praise and love Jesus from their hearts. Many of these people are retired and could meet at lunch in a home also to pray and praise God. These groups could be spouses, parents with children or a few friends.

How to facilitate a Fire Group

To begin a Fire Group, avoid adding a lot of stuff to a simple praise time. Fire Groups are not Bible studies or share groups, although they might become that, as Jesus leads, but not at the beginning.

Start the Fire Group session by asking the Holy Spirit for guidance. Sing some praise songs from your parish music book and a few Christmas carols of worship such as, “O Come all ye Faithful” (O come let us adore him), “Angels we have heard on high,” (Gloria, Gloria) or “What child is this.” Then see how Jesus leads you.

Jesus says these people are already on fire for him in every parish. As they praise him, Jesus wants to pierce their hearts with more love for him. They will become like burning bushes. They will go out into the world lighted up with God’s love. Like Andrew, James and John in the gospel today, they will tell others about Jesus.

Come and see

Through Fire Groups God will bring many more into the churches so they don’t close but get filled up. Jesus has the best plan and offers us the best meal on earth every day, “our daily bread.”

Jesus told the first apostles to “Come and see.” He then taught them and sent them out, “Go and tell.” I think that is still our motto. Jesus is the way, truth and life, John 14:6. Try it, you’ll like it.

If you have some questions email me at:
Have a blessed week

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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