Community-Driven Formation 

Emmaus groups consist of 6-10 committed members who want to be part of a community dedicated to shared life, prayer, and formation. Often, this communal experience opens into fruitful ministry collaboration and shared mission.

  • Emmaus is open to any Youth/Campus Minister in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati -- both paid staff persons and/or volunteers.

  • Cohorts will be developed according to geographic region and participants’ schedules.

  • The 2019-2021 cohorts will begin to meet in August 2019.

  • (If you're trying to imagine what this will look like, picture a Bible study group that meets with intentional frequency and consistency for the sake of pursuing holiness together.)

The power of Consistency

During a series, the cohort will meet for 2 hours twice per month at a member’s parish/school. (Nb. If possible, the cohort will attend Mass before or after, or have the possibility of eating a meal together (e.g. lunch) immediately following a session.)

  • Between sessions, participants will work to maintain their personal commitments to grow in the spiritual life and the life of virtue, and will complete short reading assignments to deepen the previous session’s lesson and to prepare for the next session.

  • The Emmaus facilitator will also offer individual support via one-on-one meetings with participants in the program.


The Emmaus formation experience costs $100 total ($50/academic year) to offset the cost of the workbook and other supplies. Participants may be asked to purchase several additional books as well. Each participant will need a Bible (RSV preferably) and a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Typical Session format

  • Fellowship - This may or may not involve food and drink.

  • Prayer (often in the form of Lectio Divina) - time to abide in the Lord as a community in the midst of hectic schedules.

  • Talk - A thought provoking and challenging 20-30 minute talk on the particular topic of the day -- always aimed at some sort of proposal for personal application.

  • Personal Work - The response to the proposal necessitates personal work, that is, an application of my whole person in considering the proposal - my freedom, my intellect, my affectivity, my experience, my desires, etc. This type of personal work is demanding because it requires my whole 'I' to be involved in the educational process, as opposed to my intellect only. Personal work ultimately requires verification: Does the Christian proposal square with my experience, my desire, my knowledge, etc.? Is the truth of the proposal verifiable in my life or not? Does this coincide with the “original evidence” found in my heart as a human person? In a sense, personal work helps us to understand how the Gospel impacts our lives in the most concrete experiences of daily life.

  • Pilgrim Fellowship - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger once said, “Catechetical instruction also includes a pilgrim fellowship, a gradual familiarization with the new life-style of Christianity. Very early on, this insight gave rise to the catechumenate, which aspired to provide that shared journey and conversation whose archetype is found in the disciples who walk with the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus” (J. Ratzinger). Because Emmaus is so closely tied to Baptism, a catechumenal experience makes sense -- and a catechumenal experience takes place with other catechumens. This experience of community, this pilgrim fellowship, manifests itself most concretely in the following ways:

    -Witness: Small group interaction in Emmaus is not merely regurgitating content, but a deep-dive into the personal sharing of verification (i.e. testimony). One shares as clearly and succinctly as possible, and from experience, how the proposal is verifiable in his or her life. This step can also include an honest and vulnerable sharing of a lack of experience or an honest wrestling with the proposal in the form of a question (one that might be opened to the other small group members to answering or a question that the person is really raising for himself that is not inviting the feedback of the others. Small group is not group therapy so the modus operandi should be that advice is not being sought unless explicitly requested.)

    -Companionship: Small group members listen attentively to the testimonies of others, allowing those testimonies to further inform their own process of verification. The companion helps one to see more clearly by raising questions, and shows the depth of his charity by abiding with the other in the midst of his or her question - always provoking and encouraging the freedom of the other (i.e. not trying to solve the other person’s problem, provide advice, etc.).

ContenT Progression & calendar

In reflecting upon the Trinity, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger once said, “The real God is by his very nature entirely being-for (Father), being-from (Son), and being-with (Holy Spirit). Man, for his part, is God’s image precisely insofar as the ‘from,’ ‘with,’ and ‘for’ constitute the fundamental anthropological pattern.” Emmaus, given its aim of helping participants embrace more deeply their baptismal identity -- literally their reconciliation with God and with others and their being re-born in God’s image -- has embraced this Trinitarian pattern of being-from, being-with, and being-for.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Rite of Baptism itself loosely follows this pattern, as it initiates the person into a life in Christ. Emmaus takes the Rite of Baptism as its “pilgrim path,” so to speak, journeying through the Rite step-by-step, beginning with the Rite’s initial movement that literally immerses the person in his/her identity as a being-from (i.e. as a son or daughter of God). Anointing marks the next significant portion of the Rite, as one abides with the Father through his blessing offered in the Holy Spirit. Finally, the Rite concludes with a series of explanatory rites that help to newly baptized understand what it means to live life as a Christian, as a being-for.

The Emmaus experience leads participants on a spiritual pilgrimage through their own baptism and into a deeper understanding of their Christian identity. In so doing, Emmaus proceeds through what we could call three “movements” in the Rite of Baptism that form the person according to the Trinitarian pattern: being-from, being-with, being-for. Our calendar reflects this pattern:

  • Opening Social - August 2019

  • Intro Session - August 2019

  • Movement 1: Being-from - September 2019 - March 2020

  • Movement 2: Being-with - April 2020 - October 2020

  • Movement 3: November 2020-May 2021

  • Pilgrimage Experience at Our Lady of Consolation Shrine (Carey, OH): June 2021