'What is a Cenacle?'
By Bryan Thatcher, MD (Apr 24, 2012)
Occasionally when I travel, someone will ask me, "What is a cenacle?" So I thought I'd take this opportunity to explain. The cenacle is a small faith-sharing group. It is as old as the Church itself. The idea contained in the word cenacle is derived from the meeting of our Lord's followers in the upper room where He celebrated the Last Supper. The Latin word for supper is cena. It was in the upper room that Jesus instituted the Eucharist and washed the apostles' feet. It was there that the apostles received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
Our Eucharistic Apostles of Divine Mercy members meet in small groups. The goals are to delve deeper into the writings of St. Faustina and learn more about the Eucharist and the message of mercy. These aims become even more relevant as efforts are under way to make St. Faustina a "Doctor of the Church."
The format followed is that of a typical "small Christian Community," or "Basic Christian Community," as it is called in Africa and India. Small groups gathering to learn and share their faith is a major form of evangelization throughout the world. Our focus is on the message of Divine Mercy as found in Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Diary of St. Faustina, with a special emphasis on the Eucharist.
A major key to the success of the cenacle is the faith-sharing that takes place. In the sessions, the Image of The Divine Mercy, the Feast Day, the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and more are brought up and discussed. Life journeys, struggles, and insights are openly discussed. Thus, our faith comes alive and the importance of Divine Mercy becomes more apparent.
The groups follow the study program laid out in three manuals. It guides the group through each session. There are approximately 50 lessons per manual. If a group met twice a month, it would take two years to finish each manual.
A facilitator leads the group, but their role is not to teach but to keep the discussion on topic and let all speak and share. More is gotten out of each lesson if the member comes prepared and does the readings beforehand.
Remember that just two people can form a cenacle. We encourage groups with more than 15 members to branch off and form another group, as this will enhance the faith-sharing. The Diary is so rich and Spirit-filled that the growth of the members is inevitable. Good fruit is the result anytime people come together to talk and learn more about God.
People often tell me how they thoroughly enjoy their cenacle group and the sharing and growth and look forward to their next meeting.
If you are considering forming a group in your parish, call us at 1-877- 380-0727, and then we can send you a free packet on the ministry and guide you in getting started. The process is quite easy as the manuals lay everything out for you.
For those of you finishing the manuals, we are nearing completion of a manual on the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it will include approximately 28 lessons on Our Lady and follow the cenacle format. Dr. Robert Stackpole, theologian at the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy, has several excellent articles on Our Lady, and there are also 16 chapters on Church-approved Marian apparitions.
Dr. Bryan Thatcher is the founder of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy (EADM), an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.
Learn more about EADM.
Learn how to start a Divine Mercy cenacle in your area.