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Saturday December 16, 2017    
::: Frequently Asked Questions :::

1. Can anybody use these programs?
2. Are there training sessions for programs?
3. Who are the theologians Together! has worked with?
4. How are the Together! programs different from those the founders published in the apostolate they founded in 1993?
5. Who are the Together! programs for?
6. How do Together! small groups fit into the parish?
7. What do small groups do for the participants?
8. What does the Group Leader do?
9. What does Together! mean by "practical study"?
10. Why does Together! recommend meeting every two weeks?
11. Can Together! suggest a way that our group can meet weekly with the program and not burn out?
1. Can anybody use these programs?
Yes! While the recommended audience for the programs is husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, singles and young adults in a small group setting, Together! will enrich the life of any person either in small group or just self-study.
2. Are there training sessions for programs?
Together! provides a section at the beginning of each Leader's Manual outlining the important aspects of leading a study group. Since a leader already possesses a desire to reach out and spread the Good News of our Faith to others, all that may be needed is the assurance and encouragement provided in the Leader's Manual to put it into action. While a parish or diocese may wish to provide some additional means of formation for its leaders, Together! believes that the Leader's Manual is sufficient for most group leaders whether they are in a parish setting or operating independently.
3. Who are the theologians Together! has worked with?
From the main page, click on About and scroll down.
4. How are the Together! programs different from those the founders published in the apostolate they founded in 1993?
Doctrinally, the works are the same; the integrity has been preserved. These programs have reached tens of thousands in North America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia to give participants a greater understanding of what the Church really teaches. The primary difference is that all references to a particular "movement" have been removed. The founders always intended that the work was to be for the Church and not to be a tool of recruitment for some "movement" having its own agenda. A few minor changes have been made so that any of these programs can be used by any group made up of couples, young adults, as well as men's or women's groups.
Also, the Leader's Manual contains answers to all the questions in one single book rather than a collection of small booklets. It has all that you need to understand the role of the Group Leader.
The participant's Study Guide has more "white space" and larger type for easier reading and making notes. The changes make the material much more user-friendly. Together! thinks you will agree!
5. Who are the Together! programs for?
The programs are for anyone who wants to understand what the Church really thinks and says of itself. The programs teach using the documents themselves; they are not textbooks but the real thing. They are designed so a person can read the document and use the study questions to bring out the important parts of the document.
The same applies to the catechesis portion of each session. The questions are designed to take you, the reader and participant, into the Catechism of the Catholic Church to read for yourself what the Church says about itself.
The programs are designed, therefore, so that each person can read the short section of text and then reflect on the text with the questions provided. Then when the group meets, the whole group goes through the questions together for a greater understanding of the material and its application to daily life.
6. How do Together! small groups fit into the parish?
Small groups that operate within a parish, faithful to the teaching of the Church and without some hidden agenda, can aid in its mission by helping form community within the parish, thereby giving it warmth. Today many people feel isolated due to their busy lives of rushing to work and back, minding, feeding and driving their children to school, sports, etc., that they do not know any of those whom they are next to in church on Sunday. Small groups can become small faith groups in which they share their understanding and knowledge of what the Church teaches and how each can live that Faith in the real world.
7. What do small groups do for the participants?
Many today feel isolated, even in a large crowd, because they know few, if any persons to whom they can turn for friendship, comfort or assistance. A small group offers the opportunity to make new friends and share one's journey to gain knowledge. The group provides a comfortable setting, support and encouragement for those who feel overwhelmed by what seems to be an enormous task of learning. In the small group those who have a good understanding of the material will help those who don't quite understand how to apply it.
8. What does the Group Leader do?
The Group Leader establishes the group and finds a time and place to meet that is convenient for all. After that, the Leader then simply directs the group, letting the group discuss each study question, while keeping the discussion on track and on time. With answers to each question provided in the Leader's Manual the Leader can more easily draw responses from the group and allow for lively discussion. For any person who wants to share his or her Faith with others in a dynamic setting, Together! programs are great tools ready-made for you!
9. What does Together! mean by "practical study"?
For most of the programs, the whole text of each document studied is included, complete with all the footnotes, so it lends itself easily to an academic study of Vatican documents. However, the study questions are designed to help each person understand how the teaching of the Church is easily applied to personal, everyday life. Each session of the program consists of a small section of the particular document studied followed by questions relating to that section of the text.
While the purpose of the questions is to take the person back into the document for a better understanding, some questions are in the format: "Here is what the Church teaches; now, how does that apply to your situation as a woman or man or couple or young adult in this stage of life: as a wife with these children, home life, job, etc., or husband with this home life, job, etc., or single person in studies, dating, etc.?" You don't have to be a theologian or Church historian! It is designed for you whatever your walk in life. That's what makes it so practical.
10. Why does Together! recommend meeting every two weeks?
Two weeks is often the frequency that a group needs to keep together as a group. Weekly meetings can be too frequent unless the group already has the experience and discipline to meet regularly that often. Longer than two weeks between meetings will mean that a person who has to miss a meeting will be away from the group for a much longer time and will likely lose touch.
That said, even though the "homework" isn't that much, two weeks is the period many find suitable to read the document and go over the study questions given the busy schedules they have.
11. Can Together! suggest a way that our group can meet weekly with the program and not burn out?
Sure. While there can be other creative solutions, here is one way that some Together! groups have found to work for them. Each week they do the Scripture Reflection based upon the upcoming Sunday Gospel or another reading. Then each week they alternate between the Catechism questions and the document discussion.


 

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