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Why We Need Another Catholic Journal: Thoughts on “Evangelization & Culture”, the Journal of the Word on Fire Institute

August 26, 2019



As I was burning the midnight oil, I figured we should start with the obvious question: Why do we need another Catholic journal?  Just consider the vast landscape of Catholic publications: Magnificat, First Things, Commonweal, America, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, Dappled Things, Image Journal, Communio, Catholic World Report, Catholic Answers Magazine, etc.—not to mention countless blogs, institutes, and diocesan periodicals. Between what is available online and in print, why should we read one more Catholic journal?

Well, let me tell you.

Evangelization & Culture, the new Journal of the Word on Fire Institute,is a natural and faithful extension of the work begun by Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire and continued under the Word on Fire Institute.

The intent of the Journal is to provide Word on Fire Institute members with a tangible source of the riches of the Catholic faith as seen through the lens of a refreshed Catholic sensibility. This sensibility believes in leading with beauty, engaging an uncertain culture, and championing an intellectually robust and mystically rich Catholic faith. It is a sensibility modeled and well-articulated by Bishop Robert Barron.

While recognizing that we are all dignified, but wayward, children of God, Evangelization & Culture seeks to reach three particular groups more than any: first, the members of the Word on Fire Institute (those who have enrolled in the online Institute who are intent on becoming better evangelizers and thus, partake in the plethora of lectures, videos, and community discussions surrounding the rich and diverse landscape of the Catholic faith); second, the seeking skeptics (those who find themselves outside the Catholic Church, but have an honest hunger and earnest interest in learning more about the truth of things); and third, the unformed faithful (those who consider themselves Catholic, but have never found themselves richly catechized).

Although Evangelization & Culture is interested in engaging any and all within its ambit, it intends to creatively interact with the earnest, not go to war with those angrily vested in disbelief. This journal is not strident or politically partisan. It is not ephemeral in subject matter or shallow in substance. The tone is to be engaging but challenging, beautiful but substantive, stimulating but faithful to the truth. It is an attempt to reveal the rich banquet of faith where many feel they have, for so long, settled for thin gruel.

The primary aim of Evangelization & Culture is formation. Through carefully selected issue themes and sections, the Journal will focus on the formation of the interior life, the intellectual life, and the aesthetic life. It will attempt to cultivate in its readers a deeper faith and a warm friendship with Christ. It will endeavor to foster critical thinking through honest encounter with the greatest thinkers, writers, and evangelists of the Catholic faith (and beyond). It will immerse its readers in the beautiful, always pointing back to the good, and ultimately the true.

G.K. Chesterton realized that “the modern philosopher had told me again and again that I was in the right place, and I still felt depressed even in acquiescence. But I had heard that I was in the wrong place, and my soul sang for joy, like a bird in spring. The knowledge found out and illuminated forgotten chambers in the dark house of infancy. I knew now why . . . I could feel homesick at home.”

And St. Augustine eloquently illuminated our deep longing for God when he discovered, “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

In our culture, we are restless and can feel that we are in the wrong place. It is easy to become homesick. Evangelization & Culture was designed for you. It wants to remind you of home.

This is an excerpt from Dr. Worner’s entire essay which was originally published in the inaugural issue of Evangelization & Culture, the Journal of the Word on Fire Institute. Please get your subscription and much more when you join the Institute today at