Reading and Praying with Saint Paul – II, Letter to the Philippians


During Lent 2022 four Bible Study /Scripture Sharing Groups formed in the parishes of St. Joseph’s & Calry (Sligo), Ballinameen-Breedogue, Castlerea and Roscommon.  Over five evenings, with the aid of some resources provided by the diocese’s Pastoral & Faith Development Services, eac group devoted  some time to pondering the person of St. Paul – his background, temperament, conversion, letter writing etc. – and the first letters he wrote, his letters to the Thessalonians and the Galatians. 

Each group was  accompanied by a priest of the parish and a trained facilitator / catechist, and in so far as resources permitted, each participant received a loan copy of a bible and a short booklet to support their engagement for the duration of the shared exploration.

Before concluding leading priests and facilitators /catechists invited all participants to complete an evaluation and many participants availed of the evaluation to request similar courses and for the diocese to consider making provision every Autumn and Spring.

By way of response, Fr. Noel Rooney (Elphin Diocese’s Biblical Scholar and parish priest, St. Joseph’s & Calry parish) and Justin Harkin have created a follow-up course that also doubles as a starting-off opportunity for adults who were not in a position  to undertake the first course. 

We hope the following details will prove helpful to everyone who would like to more / serve a place.

Course Objectives
*  To help participants appreciate the breath of St. Paul’s ministry
*  To encourage and support bible reading (bibles will be provided)
* To stimulate learning and faith-enquiry in a gentle, light-hearted and non-threatening way
*  To offer insight and generate discussion as to the relevance of St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians for our lives
*  To support short periods of group prayer (led and directed by  facilitators) with passages from Philippians
* To foster the bonds of friendship between Catholics and other people of goodwill who choose to participate

4 sessions, each one-hour to one-and-a-quarter hours in length.

Host Parishes & Facilitators, Dates, Times and Venues (Provisional)~

Mondays 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th November
St. Coman’s Club,
Abbey St.,
F42 YT51
Irene Feeney & Justin Harkin
To reserve a place please contact Roscommon Parish Office (office hours)  on 090 6626298/

Mondays 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th November
The Oratory,
Castlrerea Community School,
Co. Roscommon.
F45 ER02
Mary Flynn & Chris Garrett
To reserve a place please contact Rita in Castlerea Parish Office on 094 9620040 (office hours) / [email protected]

Wednesdays 9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th
The Presbytery,
Co. Roscommon
F52 C899
Eithne Deane, Deacon David Muldowney & Fr. Larry Ebuk MSP
To reserve a place please contact Fr. Larry on 07196 68104/ [email protected]
Wednesdays 9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th

St. Joseph’s Parish Centre
Ballytivnan Rd.,
F91 VH73
Bernadette Flynn & Fr. Noel Rooney
To reserve a place place contact Fr. Noel on 086 6054106 / [email protected]

Sundays 6th, 13th, 20th & 27th November
(at request of the CREIDEAMH Network (
Clonfert Family Centre,
H53 NX59
Fr. Charles Nijameh & John Weldon
To reserve a place please contact John on 087 9068032/[email protected]

Group Size
A maximum of fourteen participants.
This is to facilitate enquiry, sharing and getting to know one another.

Commitment (participants)
In addition to attending sessions participants will be encouraged to give one hour to reading, enquiry and reflection between sessions.  This will greatly enrich discussion.

Course outline  
   Session 1 – Introduction  (getting started)

  • Facilitators welcome participants and invite God’s blessing on the group’s time together
  • Facilitators offer introduction to course
  • Presentation on St. Paul and his missionary outreach and a brief introduction to his letter to the Philippians  (20 minutes)
  • Discussion based on presentation
  • Facilitators introduce participants to bible reading (just a few paragraphs!) for next session
  • Closing prayer service drawing on a passage from St.Paul’s letter to the Philippians

   Session 2 – 4 inclusive

  • Word of welcome and opening prayer
  • Everyone given an opportunity to share from their experience of engaging with St. Paul / their reading  during the week
  • Input supported by handout
  • Guided Discussion  (exploring how Paul’s teaching is good news for us today)
  • Introduction to reading for next session (just a few pages!)
  • Closing Prayer Service.

Follow-up Opportunity
Should participants enjoy the experience follow up courses will be run during Lent 2023. 

A donation of €10 to €20 would be appreciated from those who can afford to contribute.  This will assist the diocese recoup the cost of bibles and booklets and meet light and heat costs. 
Facilitators very kindly give their time free-of-charge.

Reading Material
Participants in the habit of reading from the bible are encouraged to use their preferred bible between sessions.
During sessions participants will be encouraged to use the bibles provided, so that everyone is working off the same text and has access to helpful footnotes etc.  
All participants will also receive a short booklet containing additional reading material  (just a few pages per session) and questions to prompt reflection and prayer.

Booking of Places
To be assured of a place please communicate your interest to the contact person or office identified above.

Further Enquiries
Please ring, text or email Justin on 087 6171526  / [email protected]


Updated  20/10/2022.