Laudato Si’ Circle in Boston
Description of Laudato Si’ Circle for St. Ignatius Parish, Boston, Massachusetts,
June – September 2019
Introduction: At a Green Group meeting at St. Ignatius Church at Boston College, it was suggested that we do a Laudato Si’ Circle. This was met with enthusiasm so we set dates for six sessions. Since there are Six Chapters we decided to study a chapter each session.
Curriculum: We used the following “curriculum.” Every other week we would all read one chapter. We decided to take turns being the “facilitator”, who would do a presentation of the chapter. This way we will each get the experience of reading and presenting. After presenting each section of the Chapter of the evening, the facilitator would create opportunities for reflection by the other members of the group.
Invitation: We invited everyone to read the Introduction and Chapter 1 of Laudato Si’ in preparation for our first meeting and reminded them that they could download a free copy of the encyclical. We also said we would include wonderful experiences in the realms of “Prayer”, “Reflection” and “Action.”
Outside nature medication: We decided to start with an outdoor medication available on the Laudato Si’ web site called “Linger, Listen, Love.” We met and gathered, and prepared to go outside for our nature meditation — the facilitator (animator) read the instructions and we dispersed to make a “new friend” of a tree, flower, cloud. A “wolf howl” from the leader brought us back together after 5-10 minutes. It was a powerful prayerful experience for everyone!
Opening Prayer: Return inside for a prayer from Laudato Si’
Check In/Introduction: One by one we answered “What brought you here?” “What is a special place in nature that you connect with?”
Presentation on Chapter One by facilitator of the evening: with reflection dyads after each section
The presenter who had volunteered for the evening summarized the high points of a section. She then paired people up into “dyads.” Each dyad had two minutes. One person would be the “listener” for one minute, looking approving and interested, and one person would be the “talker” or “reflector” — and would talk about what they had heard, their thoughts and feelings, or whatever they wanted. After one minute (using a timer makes it easier) the leader called “switch” and the pair switched roles: the talker became the listener, the listener became the talker.
We then returned to the full group to listen to the presenter talk about the highlights of section 2. The leader than paired people up into other dyads — trying to, over the course of the meeting, create as many different pairs as possible so that each person would have a chance to be in a reflection dyad with 3,4 ,5 different people.
Homework and housekeeping: dates and times for other meetings and confirming a volunteer to lead the next meeting by preparing to talk about the next chapter.
Closing circle: Going around, we each shared a highlight of the evening and an appreciation of the person on our right!
Comments: We found that this format kept things very fresh and interesting. It created community; shared leadership; and the outside meditation was a powerful way of putting each of us into the frame of mind and heart to have Laudato Si’ really speak to us.
We would be interested in hearing from any other groups that try this approach!