Part of the Discipleship Series of compact small-group resources "for people with busy lives but open hearts." Features 6 engaging sessions, each reflecting on passages from the writings of St. Paul on love and illustrating the themes through brief stories of men and women touched by grace: Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. Damien of Molokai, St. Maria Goretti, Blessed Bartolo Longo, Irishman Matt Talbo,t and Immaculee Ilibagiza. Includes prayer and discussion questions integral to growth as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Author, Christopher Ruff, is passionately committed to writing engaging, inspiring small-group resources carefully crafted to fit people’s busy calendars. He calls the small-group experience “a powerful engine for faith formation, personal renewal and community-building, and an amazing platform for joyful outreach.” He notes that in 25 years of working for the Church – first for a large Minneapolis parish, then for the Diocese of La Crosse – he has seen nothing that rivals the fruitfulness of small groups.
Christopher’s expanding Discipleship Series has been used in dioceses and parishes around the U.S. and Canada, drawing rave reviews across the spectrum, from Catholic leaders like Fr. Benedict Groeschel and Archbishop Jerome Listecki to countless men and women in the pew. His resources are compact, most consisting of 6 sessions, with none more than 8. This makes them perfect for Lent or any time of year.
The resources have also proven ideal for groups of all kinds – from typical “Bible study groups” to Catholic school teachers and administrators, members of parish councils and committees, men’s and women’s organizations, young adults, even Confirmation candidates. In short, they are a powerful tool for people involved in a common mission who are looking for a concise, calendar-friendly way to deepen and renew their faith and their discipleship in Christ. Most of the books incorporate a very modest encouragement to service. This makes them unique in that the focus is turned not just inward on the group, but outward toward one’s neighbor.
Christopher lived and studied theology in Rome in the 1980’s, receiving his S.T.L. from the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family. He also has an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. In Rome, he met Blessed John Paul II and Blessed Mother Teresa multiple times and translated dozens of the Pope’s addresses into English for L’Osservatore Romano (the Vatican newspaper). He was profoundly moved by the radiant witness of these two holy pillars. And so, in his resources (with the exception of the Catechism studies) each session spotlights a real-life story of what happens when God’s grace fills a human soul and overflows to touch and change the world.
While studying in Rome, Christopher translated two books from Italian – Padre Pio, a coffee table book distributed in the U.S. by Our Sunday Visitor, and Living in Christ, a work of moral theology by Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, published by Ignatius Press. He has also contributed articles to the National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly, Columbia magazine and other publications, and has been interviewed multiple times on Relevant Radio. In addition, he has taught many classes as an adjunct faculty member of the Institute for Pastoral Theology of Ave Maria University. He has been the Director of the Office of Ministries and Social Concerns for the Diocese of La Crosse since 2001.
Christopher has been married nearly twenty-five years to the love of his life, Clare. They have been blessed with five beautiful children.
"Small faith-sharing groups which challenge the individual to works of charity and the apostolate are at the very core of the history of the reform of the Catholic Church. I congratulate Christopher Ruff on his work and hope it will continue to be so well received."
Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR
"This expanding set of resources is aptly named the Discipleship Series. I recommend it wholeheartedly to individuals, groups, parishes and dioceses that wish to foster a deeper, fuller discipleship in Christ."
Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, Archdiocese of Milwaukee
"The Discipleship Series has borne tremendous fruit in our Archdiocese. Consistently participants have found it to be a source of joy, edification, challenge, and consolation, and look forward to continuing with other books in the series. I couldn't recommend it more highly to parishes and dioceses as a vehicle for integral Christian formation.
Kyle Neilson - Director, Office of Evangelization - Archdiocese of Vancouver (Canada)