So You Want To Start A Sojourners Prayer Group?
“I would like to underline the fact that, in the face of the shadows that obscure the horizon of today’s world, to assume responsibility for educating young people in knowledge of the truth, in fundamental values and virtues, is to look to the future with hope.”
- Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in his New Year’s Homily for 2012
Q and A with Tammy Dupuy
Founder of The Sojourners of The Burning Heart
Question: "Tammy, what first led you to open your home to these young people?"
Tammy: "After spending 10 days with over 20 youth in Medjugorje in 2006, we desired to continue to pray together in community and to bring the truth of Christ to other young people."
Question: "Do you think that having this type of group in a home environment is essential? If so, why?"
Tammy: "Yes, having it in a home makes it more welcoming, more comfortable and less structured feeling. I want these young people to feel comfortable, to feel at home. Sometimes they stay until the very late hours in the morning, and that is when they really open their hearts and share. I think it is important to meet them where they are, to let them know they are welcome and loved. While the group meets on Friday nights, they know they are welcome to come by if they need anything at all. Many of them feel that this is their second home, a place that is safe, a place where they are loved."
Question: "Who is welcome to the meetings?"
Tammy: "If someone is curious and wants to come they are welcome. The young adults are primarily college age or high school seniors. The bulk of the young people are Catholic but we have other protestant religions represented as well. As far as faith walk is concerned we have all types. That is one of the things I love about this group, ALL are welcome, from the person that never goes to church to those that attend daily mass every day."
Question: "How did you get the word out to people who may have wanted to become Sojourners?"
Tammy: "We have not done any advertising, it is all by word of mouth. Young people come and want to bring their friends."
Question: "Is the focus of The Sojourners on Medjugorje or something greater? In other words, is this strictly a Marian organization? Do you have to go to Medjugorje to fit in with this group?"
Tammy: "The focus is Jesus Christ. We come together to worship the Lord and to share our love of Christ with others. The primary thing that we stress is being in line with Our Holy Church and taking advantage of all that she has to offer. So, yes we love Our Lady so we are Marian. We love The Holy Spirit so we are
Charismatic. We love the Eucharist, We love The Holy Scriptures, we love the sacraments. "
Question: "Is your group faithful to the Magesterium of the Church?"
Tammy: "It is VERY important to us that we are faithful to the Magesterium of the Church!"
Question: "In your opinion, what would make an average young person forego a Friday evening in the bar scene to worship Christ? What is the draw of your prayer group?"
Tammy: "I think the draw is the love that the young people have for each other. They feel accepted for who they are and loved by the members of the group. It gives them the courage to go out into the world and live the gospel. Christ said we are to love our neighbor as ourselves and they try very hard to live that. The older ones may head to the bars after the meeting - not to get drunk, but to enjoy life and the precious gift it is. I have heard many stories of them evangelizing in the bars at night. These are very normal young people that like to do very normal things."
Question: "How soon after forming the group did you seek out a spiritual director?"
Tammy: "We started the group with a spiritual director. Father was on our first trip and has been with us ever since."
Question: "What qualities would be be suited to a person who wants to be an adult facilitator of a Sojourners group?"
Tammy: "Love of Our Lord, must be obedient to The Church, a good listener and be VERY flexible."
Question: "What are your general duties as facilitator of the group?"
Tammy: "Communicating times for events, opening your home, being available and willing to listen."
Question: "Are there any fees or start up costs to start a prayer group like this? What are some of the more creative ways financially that you have managed to host so many young people at once?"
Tammy: "There does not have to be any cost involved if that is what a facilitator chooses. I do feed the group on Friday nights. I used to feed them full meals but the group has gotten too large and my budget too small. But I do have soft drinks, tea, snacks, etc. College students are generally hungry and do not have the funds to buy food."
Question: "How is the Sojourners important to the local Catholic community? What are some of the Church ministries you guys have supported?"
Tammy: "Sojourners are very involved in the community. We have lead adoration services in local parishes, lead youth groups, lead retreats, speak in Catholic schools, VERY active in pro-life ministry, March for Life, CCD classes, etc. Many have become theology majors and are teaching in our schools. We have
several seminarians that are a part of the group as well."
Question: "In what ways have you seen people transformed through their participation in the Sojourners?"
Tammy: "I have seen shy young people step up and become leaders for Christ in the community. I have seen angry, sexist young men come to respect women and become holy chaste men that are teaching others about chastity. I have seen alcoholics and drug addicts give up their addictions and choose Christ. I have seen popular young people that love to party walk away from that fast life and dedicate their lives to serving others through Christ. I have seen those that have been away from the church for years come back to the church and become theology majors, wanting to help other young people. I have seen young men that were living in
the fast lane give it all up to become priests."
Question: "What has moved you the most about taking on this type of ministry?"
Tammy: "The young people today have such passion for life but so many of them have been misled by our society. A society that teaches it is all ok as long as it makes you feel good and happy. But they are not happy and they are seeking the truth. When a young person sees the truth and comes to know Christ they come
alive and they are no longer living for themselves. They want to help others, they want to make this world a better place. They become soldiers for Christ. This gives me such hope for our future."
Question: "Any other words of wisdom for those considering starting a Sojourners prayer group in their community?"
Tammy: "Pray. If you are being called to start this type of group in your community then it will happen. Just start, let Christ lead and He will take you places you never dreamed you would go. Trust in Him and walk forward. The Sojourners have been a bigger gift to me than I could ever be to these young people. I have been so blessed by getting to know so many amazing children of God!"
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN STARTING A SOJOURNER'S PRAYER GROUP or JOINING A PRAYER GROUP
Please put Sojourners Prayer Group in the subject line of your email