The Zacchaeus Course is divided into 7 major themes and a summing-up – 8 themes in all.
Each theme is treated as follows:
- A talk explaining the theme is given to the group as a whole;
- A first series of individual exercises, which are practical and accessible, based on your own daily life. For each of these you make a note of what you discover, your questions, difficulties, etc.
- A time of sharing in small groups of 4 to 8 people about putting the exercises into practice;
- A second series of exercises which are more spiritual, and on which there will not be any sharing.
All the meetings start with a time of prayer and praise.
The Course takes place over one whole year. The aim is not to use an academic approach, but to become an agent in our own transformation and to gradually adopt the ways of thinking and the behaviour that are faithful to God’s plan.
Step by step, you will discover how much the Catholic Faith provides tools that enable you to analyse, discern and make decisions. You will discover that it is indeed possible to live the Christian life every day and not just on Sundays. Thousands of people have already followed the Zacchaeus Course and they all say the same thing: that the Course has changed their lives, and the way they see others and the world.
A process which depends on faithfulness
The Course is not theoretical teaching on the Social Doctrine of the Church, instead, it enables anyone to embrace this Doctrine steadfastly, and so to act as a Christian in the world, which is where we will achieve fulfilment and holiness.
Above all, following the Course requires faithful commitment and patience, because this transformation is demanding and takes time. Some people even follow the Courses in several consecutive years to deepen their understanding of various points. In order to remain faithful to the exercises each day, it is advisable that you do not have too many other activities during the year. The Course will lead you to develop a plan for your life and your future commitments, thus it is time well spent in order to make a better start to other activities later on!
A simple method, accessible to all
Depending on where you live, the ease of organization and the abilities of the people available, the talks may be given by a member of the team or by an outside speaker who has already followed the Course. The aim is that it should be possible for you to follow the Course wherever you live.
Nevertheless, it is essential that you do not follow the Course on your own. Gather together a few friends, parishioners, neighbours, colleagues, or anyone interested, because only working as a team and the regular times of sharing allow you to experience the fraternal relationships that are an essential aspect of the teaching method.
The Zacchaeus Course is offered by the Emmanuel Community, which has a dedicated team to help you with the organization.
One thing is certain – you will never regret having devoted a few months to the Zacchaeus Course
The basic tool necessary for the Course is the book of exercises (e-book). We can also provide on request the talks in written form so that you can give them yourself.
The book provides a general introduction to each talk, together with quotations from the Bible, the Catholic Catechism, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, and from various Papal Encyclicals, as well as pages of clear accessible exercises. The first part, “The Compass”, helps us to find our position in the world, and the second part, “The Dividers”, gives the key to assessing our relationships with others. As the course proceeds, one can make a break between “The Compass” and “The Dividers”,
The Compass, the first part of the Zacchaeus Course, deals with 4 themes:
- We are participants in God’s creation (co-creators)
- Serving the Common Good
- The just use of our possessions (the universal end of possessions)
- With a preferential option for the poor
The Dividers, the second part of the Zacchaeus Course, deals with 4 themes:
- Exercising authority
- Participating in the community
- Unity and freedom
- A Christian art of living (summary of the Course)