Leixlip Parish Cells
The Seven Purposes of Cells
I. To grow in intimacy with the Lord.
"I have quieted and stilled my soul like a weaned child on its mother's lap; like a contented child is
my soul. Hope in the Lord, O Israel now and forever." (Psalm 131)
II.To grow in love of one another
"I give you a new commandment: love one another;
you must love one another just as I have loved you" (Jn 13:34)
III.To share Jesus with others
"In the same way your light must shine in people's sight, so that,
seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven"(Mt 5:14-16)
IV.To serve within the community
"Each one of you has received a special grace, so, like good stewards responsible for all these
varied graces of God, put it at the sevice of others"(1Pt 4:10)
V.To give and receive support
"Rejoice with others when they rejoice, and be sad with those in sorrow"(Rm 12:15)
VI.To raise up new leaders
"Pass on to reliable people what you have heard from me through many witnesses,
so that they in turn will be able to teach others"(2Tm 2:2)
VII.To deepen our Catholic identity
"May you be established in love, that you may obtain all the riches of a full understanding and know
the mystery of God, Christ himself.For in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge"
Format of a Cell Meeting
The following is the highly recommended format for each cell meeting,
while it also emphasises the importance of confidentiality
Prayer, song and scripture reflection.
Each cell meeting begins with people quietly becoming aware of the presence of God.
A few hymns or a spontaneous prayer greatly helps.
There follows a reading and reflection upon scripture.
a review of prayer and evangelistic experiences since previous meeting.
Those who wish briefly tell how they have seen the presence of God since they last met
and of how they may have shared faith with another.
a teaching on audio or videotape about some aspect of faith.
a discussion on the teaching, aimed at its understanding and application.
Intercessory and also healing prayer.
A brief time of fellowship ends the meeting
How to Begin
The impact of the parish cell system on individuals and on parishes is immense, and accordingly,
deserves careful planning.
The following are intended to help a parish to draw up its own preparatory plan.
Speak to a few people about the cell vision, towards community, renewal of faith and evangelization,
in today's world. Make contact with people who benefit from participating in a cell group.
Find out what resources are available.
Share your hopes with your local priests.
Plan some specific event, e.g.
* arrange for a few parishioners to visit a parish where cells exist
* invite a number of people together to arrange the "Come and See Programme"
* organise people who may be interested, to run this programme or to launch cell groups in your
* invite cell participants to speak at weekend masses to help with the launch.
and most important of all, Pray.
When a cell group is well launched in a parish, it attracts attention and curiosity.The ground is sown for
other people to participate, which in turn leads to multiplication and the existence of two cells. Through
this process an increasing number of cell groups can form throughout a parish. In a few Irish parishes,
there are more than 10 cell groups.In Florida, at St. Edward's parish, there currently are 96 cells, while
in St. Eustorgio, Milan, there are about 120 such cell groups.So you see the possibilities for parish cell
groups are enormous.
An authentic cell experience influences a parish in three ways:
I. Relationship with Jesus.
People come to a more personal relationship with Jesus when they participate in a cell group.
They come to know that He is near, and that He wishes them to experience His love.
When people talk about the benefits of attending a cell group, they often say that God had felt distant to
them, but now they know Him as near and as intimately involved in their daily events and encounters.
A relationship with Jesus greatly changes those who participate in cell groups. They see themselves,
God and other people in a different way.
As a result:
* Participants feel happier.
* They are more at home with God, whom they know loves them and is actively and intimately involved
* They become more tolerant of the people they meet and more eager to serve and help them.
* The Eucharist takes on a new significance and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament becomes for
many participants a weekly or even a daily event and commitment.
* Scripture becomes the living word of God and takes a central place in their personal and communal
* Participants want to read and learn the fundamentals of Christian faith.
II. Oikos Evangelization.
When participants experience the transforming impact of relating with Jesus Christ, they simply want to
evangelize. They don't need to go to evangelize. They evangelize as they go.
They want to tell the people they meet about what has helped them as persons. In other words, they
want to tell members of their families, their neighbours, work and leisure colleagues, about Jesus and
his influence in their lives.
When this happens, it can be called oikos evangelization. Essentially, oikos means the pool of people
with whom each individual is in regular contact.
Hence oikos evangelization is a commitment to:
- Recognising the presence of God in each person one meets and in each event and encounter in life.
- Loving each member of one's family in a way that brings life and that encourages them to a deeper
trust in Christ's love for them.
- Accepting one's neighbours and people at one's places of work and leisure.
- Shareing when it seems appropriate about God's transforming love and point them towards the same
People experience community through cell participation. They experience a sense of belonging.
In the informal setting of a home they come to know, and to trust the few people who gather together
with them. They learn to share a little about their relationship with God, and about how they see God at
work in their own lives, in the lives of other people and in everyday events.
To share at this level means that all present are drawn closer to one another.They learn to pray for one
another about the real issues that affect them.They learn to give and to receive help and support.
Essentially, they experience church in its domestic setting.
In summary, then, cell groups make a great contribution to parish life.
They help those who attend their meetings to know Jesus in a personal way, and encourage them to
serve the people they meet, and share with them about what their faith in Jesus means to them. Cell
people also want other people to experience the benefits of community.For this reason they invite
people to their meetings.
They tend to get involved in parish and social activities.
They build up a spirit of community in their families, neighbourhood and parishes, as a result of their
own good experiences of community.
Fr. Michael Hurley