They gather early every Friday morning, offering prayers of thanksgiving and intentions for the entire school community. They are members of PrayerCRU, the newest parent spiritual group at Gibbons.
Its vision? "Gibbons parents modeling an active life of faith through prayer, learning, and community building," responded Shannon Williams, a Gibbons parent and the group's founder.
Along with the Friday prayer session the group, which started last August, has initiated such activities as tweeting a daily prayer intention at 6 a.m., "so the Gibbons community can unite in prayer each day," said Williams. There are also opportunities for members to participate in First Friday Adoration and to pray the rosary on Marian feast days. They may also sign up for one of the Parent Faith Reflection Series, offered through the Gibbons Theology Department. The Lent Reflection Series will start next month with Theology Educator Kim Dandurand. The series will take place March 1,8,15, and 22.
In the six months since the group began, "we have dozens of parents involved in praying, learning, and worshipping together," Williams noted, adding that the group has the names of about 300 parents on its email list and 274 Twitter followers (@CGPrayerCru #CGprays). "Some people drop in from time to time and others are with us every week - both work," she said.
Gibbons parents Dawn Thompson and Suzanne Stitt said they joined PrayerCRU to grow spiritually and share their faith with other parents.
"I think it's a blessing to belong to a school community that encourages parents to grow together in their faith," noted Stitt, who facilitates the Friday morning prayer group.
Added Thompson: "...I wanted to challenge myself; for me, that meant going outside my comfort zone: sharing my faith, and praying spontaneously with others."
Asked what has given them the most joy, both pointed to the Friday prayer group. "What an amazing gift it is to share with each other the everyday miracles of Christ working in our lives," Thompson said. "You can't get any more joyful than that."
Stitt said, "meeting this group of women, becoming friends with them and walking our faith journey together has been an incredible blessing and an answer to my own prayer."
Looking ahead, the group hopes to offer opportunities for parents to join with the theology classes for the Stations of the Cross during Lent. It has also discussed going on field trips, including taking a tour of Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral and attending concerts, as well as participating in such shared activities as tailgating.
"I can't wait to see how PrayerCRU will continue to evolve, and grow," noted Thompson.
Williams added, "prayer is a diverse and beautiful thing, so we are also open to ideas and to where the Spirit leads us."