Ready to start a devotion/prayer group? GREAT! God bless you. First, I would suggest that you consult your local Bishop's office and consult with someone there. They may have an office dedicated to assisting lay groups and may have specific rules and regulations that your group is obligated to follow.
Once you have received approval from the Diocese or your local Priest, and want to organize a group in your local area, here are some organizational tips that I hope help you start your Prayer Guild/Group:
Start with a set of general principles which may include:
-Total and unconditional adherence to the teaching of the Catholic Church, guided by the Pope and his Bishops.
-Obedience to the Pope and the Bishops whose representative, in each group, is the Spiritual Director.
-Prayer with the Church, through the Church, and in the Church.
-A willingness to share in the sufferings of Christ, as an effective means of reparation.
-Generosity and self-sacrifice in undertaking works of charity for the suffering and the needy.
-A dedication to promote the Cause and devotion to Servant of God Pope John Paul II
-Adherance to certain penitential offerings such as fasting, almsgiving, etc.
-Willingness to attend group meetings/functions/events.
Membership and Structure of the Group.
The group must decide who may become a member of the group and what that entails. For instance, a requirement that all "Full" members much be adult and confirmed in the Church and as such, are eligible to vote in group decisions. "Partial/Junior" membership could be for youth members who are not eligible to vote.
Organizational structure is important for unity and direction, so I suggest electing a Leader/President, an assistant, and a secretary/treasurer*.
(* If your group is going to handle money from group dues/donations etc. it is EXTREMEMLY important that you consult with your local Church for approval. Following local/state/federal law where applicable is your responsibility, and not something to be taken lightly.)
Meetings and Prayer Services
Decide if your group will have regularly scheduled meeting and what that will include (for instance the recitation of the Rosary, prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father, prayers for those suffering in Purgatory, prayers for the promotion of the Gospel of Life, for your own personal intentions, etc.) and if the group will meet before or after Mass. Organization with your local Church is important because this will hopefully allow your group to meet at the Church and use your Priest/Deacon/Religious as a spiritual director.
Relatives and friends should always be welcome to join the devotional services and everyone should be encouraged to introduce other Catholics to your prayer group.
As time goes by and I receive suggestions and tips from local groups, I will be sure to add them to this page. Please contact me if you have any advice that you wish to share with other groups.