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Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ project in Madhya Pradesh, India

Bible Sharing as a path to faith formation

 Bible Sharing as a path to faith formation  ING-027
05 July 2024

In North India, the state of Madhya Pradesh, in the Diocese of Indore, faith in families is very much alive. Sr Rita George Thykootam phjc, shares the story of starting the project of Bible sharing in the families and how it affected the diocese.

Before starting the project of Bible sharing in the families, faithful families of Dhar Parish, diocese of Indore in Madhya Pradesh used to gather and pray in the parish together with the religious sisters of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ (phjc). The prayer would usually end by someone reading aloud a passage from the Bible. However, our community felt it was not enough and that the prayer sessions left the Word of God inactive. Therefore, the religious sisters invited families to read the Bible, and do it together, in small groups, in their homes.

The Diocese of Indore encourages Bible sharing as a path to faith formation in the families in every parish, thus the entire parish is divided geographically into groups called “SCC-s”, meaning Small Christian Communities. Every community consists of few families. They gather in the house of one of the member families every two weeks and pray together.

The 7 steps of Bible sharing

As set up by the sisters, Bible sharing in the families consists of a few simple steps.

The prayer begins with the leader of the group invoking the presence of the Holy Spirit, then announcing the passage from the Bible and reading it slowly. Gathered members are invited to share inspiring words and their reflections.

After reflecting on the Word of God, every family talks about the resolutions that they have made and obtained, based on the previous Bible sharing. The last step is making a new resolution based on the Bible passage shared by the group. The review of Bible sharing is also regularly published in the news bulletin of Indore Diocese.

The Bible transforming families

After the families started with this kind of prayer, our community was more than surprised with the fruits.

We noted that the parents and elders in the family become responsible in nurturing the seeds of faith sown in the baptismal grace. They live the Word of God and invite the young to tread the same path. Faith becomes a lived experience, not just read or preached.

The spiritual journey of God’s people in Indore has become an inclusive reality that builds up the bonds with father and mother, brother and sister, friend and neighbour.

We feel that it is inevitable that the double-edged sword keeps cutting the barriers of caste, colour, creed and religion.

At the same time, the experience of Bible sharing helps families cope with difficulties, making it easier for them to experience God’s presence in any painstaking situations of life. This kind of faith formation acts as the fuel that moves our families forward to be what God is calling them to be, having confidence to incorporate the Bible’s life-giving reality into everyday life.

Challenges for Christians in India

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ also invite the families to carry along the lived experiences of the Word of God to challenge the unforgiving world, the indifferent neighbor and the uncaring society.

Families who pray together are challenged to stretch the tent of their faith and become closer to others, which is especially important in a multi-religious country like India.

The religious sisters feel that the country faces a tense situation, where praying together in common groups has sometimes been labeled threatening behavior as a “Christian conversion activity.”

Faith makes common life easier

Despite the situation, our community has realized that the most valuable lesson we have learned from Bible sharing in the families was the realization that faith goes beyond the surface.

It’s not about how you want to appear to others; it is in believing even when no one is watching. It is also how you choose not only to live, but to spread the light to everyone around you.

For this reason, Christian families of Indore share the essence of their belief by inviting neighbours of other beliefs to celebrate Christian festivities with them. At the same time, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ also participate in festivals of other religions like Eid and Diwali. In all places of work, education and socializing, the families stand for the values they profess through their Christian faith.


By Sr Rita George Thykootam, phjc