Faith Formation Ministries

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Faith must be known, celebrated, lived and expressed in prayer. Faith formation refers to the transmission of Jesus’ moral teachings as well as their implications for Christian living. It prepares us to live in community and participate actively in the life and mission of the church. The ministries in this section promote knowledge of our faith through education, opportunities for prayer, and sacramental preparation.

Book Club

St. John’s Book Club provides an opportunity for parishioners to meet in a social setting to share ideas and get to know each other. Books chosen have a religious/faith themes or present moral dilemmas. The club meets about 10 times per year, and the meetings are open to anyone in the parish.

Books have included: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, Educated by Tara Westover, The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate, The Girl in the Glass by Susan Meissner, The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See, What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon, and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen.

Contact: Faith Mauro-Huse,

Children’s Liturgy of the Word

We offer the Children’s Liturgy of the Word Program on Sundays during the school year at WLIFC. The program is for children age four to third grade. Younger children may attend with a parent/guardian. The 20 to 25-minute lessons reflect on the readings during Mass. Volunteers are needed to teach and to assist.

2022 Update: Children’s Liturgy of the Word continues this fall for families with preschool children up to grade 3.  Zoom lessons will be: Sunday, January 23; Sunday, February 13; Sunday, February 27; Sunday, March 13; Sunday, March 27. Please note the scheduled time has changed to 8:30am! Families are invited to join via Zoom.  To receive the Zoom link a couple of days before each class, email KidLit@sjerc.orgRead more »

Contact: Nadine Magaletta,

Reading Scripture Together

This Bible Study group meets to discuss the readings for the next Sunday.  Starting with a video presentation about the bible led by biblical scholars, we then turn to the readings for Sunday.  Beginning November 16, we will meet via Zoom on Tuesday evenings and Wednesday afternoons.  The meetings will start with a 30-minute video presentation then turn to the Sunday readings.  On Tuesday evenings, the video will be 7:00-7:30pm, and the discussions focused on the Sunday readings will be 7:30-8:30pm.  On Wednesdays, the video will start at 1:00pm and the discussion will be 1:30 – 2:30pm. Deacon Gifford prepares an email with the readings for Sunday with commentary by biblical scholars to help understand the readings.

We hope that in the New Year, the Wednesday meetings will be both in person (at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center) and via Zoom.

Contact: Deacon Paul Gifford,

Religious Education Ministry (Grades K-6)

This ministry supports parents of children in grades K-6, who are responsible for being the first educators of their children in the Catholic faith. Various programs introduce moral values to the children so they will become followers of Jesus Christ, and will experience and demonstrate their faith through prayer and the sacraments. We offer programs in English and Spanish, and integrate special needs students with other students with the assistance of “buddies” and parents.

This ministry supports the Sunday morning religious education program, a Family Program providing at-home lessons, preparation for First Eucharist and First Reconciliation, and RCIA for Children. The ministry organizes extracurricular activities for children such as the Children’s Stations of the Cross and the Christmas Eve Children’s Liturgy. Adult and youth volunteers are always needed for this ministry. Read more »

Contact: Consuelo Petro, or 410-964-1425 x319

Small Church Communities

A Small Church Community (SCC) is a small group of adults who gather to reflect on their lives in the light of the Gospel and to share their Christian faith through prayer, friendship and service. The early Christians gathered in small groups, most frequently in a home. That experience allowed a deep sharing of faith and life. Today, SCCs facilitate that deep sharing in the presence of trusted friends. Relationships are formed in which sharing, listening and genuine communication are nurtured. The sharing of faith and life leads to action on behalf of others.

Although each SCC is unique in its membership, style, and meeting format, every SCC is involved in the following activities:

  • Mutual support and faith sharing
  • Prayer and ritual
  • On-going formation in Scripture and Tradition that enables tangible connections between faith and life.
  • Outreach beyond the SCC

Contact: Kathie Armstrong, or Jan Shaw at 410-964-1425 x312

Women’s Faith Sharing Group

The Women’s Faith Sharing Group meets each week during the six weeks of Lent each year, with a celebration meeting after Easter. The group uses the “Disciples on the Journey” Lenten lectionary resource with questions for small group sharing. We now have 70+ women from our faith community who participate, often encouraging their friends to join us. Half attend our weekly morning meeting, while the other half meets in the evening for the same program.

Here are some testimonials as to what the women love about the group:

  • “The best part of the group is meeting new members of our parish and it’s very inspiring to hear everyone’s story. I would encourage friends to join because sharing my own story and listening to others share theirs has help me grow in my faith.”
  • “The Women’s Faith Sharing Group provided a sense of community. I didn’t know what to expect, because I’ve never been in a faith-sharing small group before, but the connections I made with the other women gave me a sense of peace through faith. I would recommend this experience!”

Contact: Chris Marcinek, or 410-599-0967

Youth and Young Adult Ministry

We offer faith formation to over 200 young people (7th-12th grades) in both English and Spanish. The ministry encourages young people to participate in retreats and conferences, such as those offered by the National Evangelization Team, the National Catholic Youth Conference, and Praise Night sponsored by the Howard County Youth Ministers. We offer Confirmation-related education and programming, including pilgrimages in historic Baltimore and a Parent-Youth retreats.

In response to the pandemic closures, we offered a reflection video for families, a related examen prayer, as well as a Stations of the Cross, a three-night Parish Family Mission, the Praise Night as a virtual experience, and a viewing party of Just Mercy. Read more »

Contact: Andrea Torres, or 410-964-1425 x318

Mother of the Eucharist and Grace – 1st Saturday Prayers

The Marian Groups at St. John’s meet together to pray the rosary, followed by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and Anointing of the Sick. The statue of the Mother of the Eucharist and Grace is placed next to the alter during prayers, and parishioners usually donate roses to place at the Blessed Mother’s altar. The Blessed Mother’s statue is placed in the Chapel after prayers so other parishioners can have an opportunity to pray with Her. The Blessed Mother’s statue is a pilgrim image, and parishioners are encouraged to take Her home for a week or two, so she can visit and pray with them.

The Prayer group has been meeting virtually (zoom) since September 2020. Prayer reminders are sent through flocknotes, email and text messages to parishioners. Praying the rosary and divine mercy chaplet has been the focus during the pandemic. An average of 15-20 devices have been participating at these First Saturday prayers, and prayer booklets have been provided to parishioners, who can follow along during prayers. This has been a spiritually enriching experience for those able to participate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact: Evelyne Mbandi, or 443-739-7884

Precious Blood Prayer Group

The group’s prayers are centered on the mysteries of the rosary and Chaplet of the Precious Blood, and ends with the Archangel Michael Prayer of Protection. Five members of the group have been consecrated to the Apostolate of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The group meets every Wednesday evening from 6:30pm to 7:45pm. The group’s hope is to be able to join other members of the Precious Blood Apostolate during the Gethsemane hours from 11:00pm to 3:00am on Thursday nights, God willing.

Contact: Fanny Essien Obeng, or 443-418-1768

Baptism Preparation Class

Preparation for Baptism is an important time for prayerful meditation on the significance of what you are about to participate in. Baptism preparation classes are held for first-time parents once a month. We invite godparents to attend as well. The one-hour classes are led by a team of volunteers and clergy. New volunteers are invited to assist with this program. Read more »

Contact: Deacon Paul Gifford,

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a faith formation process in which adults become full, participating member of the Catholic Church by receiving the sacraments of initiation – Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation. Our RCIA program and volunteers serve individuals of another faith who wish to convert to Catholicism, individuals who were baptized in another Christian denomination and wish to become a member of the Catholic faith, and individuals who were baptized in the Catholic Church, but never received the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation. Individuals going through the process meet on Sunday mornings from 10:30am to noon.

Every week Paul Gifford hosts gatherings for new and already-interested Inquirers. These are very informal gatherings to look at various aspects of our Catholic faith for those who aren’t ready (and may not ever be ready) to transition into the church. If you are not Catholic but might like to be – give Paul a call!

Contact: Deacon Paul Gifford,

Please note: The Archdiocese of Baltimore requires all parish volunteers to be VIRTUS certified. Please contact the parish office for details.

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