Prego Groups embracing new ways of praying

Prego group members with Fr Damian Jackson SJ
Prego group members with Fr Damian Jackson SJ

“Fruit that will last”, this was the main theme of the day of prayer and fellowship held recently for Prego group members at the Loreto Centre, Llandudno.

‘You arrive rushed, but then you find that a Prego Group is a place to let go and be still and share the Gospel with others … and that gives great hope and energy to go out generously into the world again’, observed one participant.

Prego groups (from Latin, I pray) are run by the St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre’s outreach team on behalf of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wrexham and consist of about 25 local lay people trained in Ignatian spirituality and prayer guidance, led by Fr Damian Jackson SJ.  At present there are about 25 groups of between 6 and 20 people each, supported both by the diocese and St Beuno’s, and most are fully ecumenical. Typically, each group meets fortnightly for prayerful reflection on the readings for the following Sunday, with a chance for sharing and then short intercessions. Groups pray with the ‘Prego leaflet’, produced by the outreach team each week. And with the power of the internet these leaflets are now used not only within the Wrexham diocese but also downloaded by people in different pastoral situations all over the world.

“The coming together of the groups offered the chance to experience praying in a different way with the help of audio-visual material,” explained another participant, “having been led gently into stillness by one of the Prayer Guides (which anchored us firmly within the presence of God for the rest of the day), we were invited to reflect on a series of contrasting video clips taken from seeingmore.org.”

The seeingmore.org website is a ministry of Fr Nikolaas Sintobin SJ, internet chaplain for the Jesuit region of the Low Countries.  It offers the resource of 500 short Youtube clips on entirely secular themes, ranging from commercials through poignant real-life vignettes to whacky animations, but with the purpose of showing God at work in the world in surprising ways.

‘This is a great tool for reflection that really pulls at the heart’, said one person – ‘and furthermore, not too “holy” or “churchy”!’ Others commented on the impact of the clips to touch us on several different levels, engaging the intellect as well as speaking to the heart.
Several people were keen to consider using some of the material in their own Prego group: ‘We all can benefit spiritually by embracing new methods of praying … and this chance to watch prayerfully and then reflect with others today really has helped me to “see more”’, observed one Prayer Guide.

The day offered a chance to reflect on the purpose of the Prego groups and what participant means for members.  ‘My Prego group gives me life in a disturbing but good way’, said one person.  Others noticed how much deeper their understanding of the weekly Scripture readings was by the time they reached the Sunday Mass, and how that experience often stirs up new things and a desire to be outward-looking and apostolic. ‘This encourages me to give time to God and to others … the groups are so much bigger than just “us” … a place to “come and see”, helping others to respond to God’s invitation in the rest of life, especially at a time when churches are declining’.

St Beuno’s outreach in Wrexham constantly tries to respond to changing needs and opportunities, and two new Prego groups have started this last year.

More information on Prego can be found on Pathwaystogod.org together with a longer version of this story

Download a leaflet on how to set up a Prego group.

Download the Prego leaflets.