The Remarkable Fruit of the ''CATHOLICISM'' Study Program
Since 2011, the CATHOLICISM Study Program has nurtured and built the faith of thousands all over the world. More than 4,000 parishes have used it for adult formation, RCIA, catechetical development and youth ministry. Because of the DVD-driven format, many people have benefitted from the excellence of Fr. Barron’s teaching. His reach has been extended beyond the walls of the seminary and deep into the pews of the Church in all corners of the world.
From a survey of 1,500 program participants, it is incredibly clear that the CATHOLICISM Study Program goes far beyond an average parish program or Catholic film. 98% of participants would recommend it to other groups and 91% of participants said it was “one of the best faith formation programs I have ever seen.” Additional comments from the survey support the high quality and importance of this program:
- “This program gets at the heart of the Catholic faith. I believe it is beneficial both to long-time Catholics who have never learned or who have forgotten why we do the things we do and why we believe the things we believe, and for new Catholics or non-Catholics seeking to learn more about our faith”
- “Fr. Barron's ability to express complex concepts in a simple yet intelligent manner is astounding.”
- “I learned to be interested and ask questions about our religion in areas that had never occurred to me.”
The program also transforms hearts and minds as 95% of participants said that CATHOLICISM has “positively affected my relationship with Christ.” One participant added, “It strengthened my relationship with God through meeting faithful parishioners and learning the deeper details of Catholic beliefs.”
Since completing the program, 39% of participants said they were attending Mass more often. “I feel a greater appreciation for the Church. It made me aware that I needed to take more time to pray and express my gratitude in worship. I felt a greater sense of God's love,” commented one survey respondent.
CATHOLICISM follows a multi-dimensional format that truly leads to effective faith formation. Each lesson’s content is presented in four ways: Fr. Barron’s teaching on the DVD; detailed written commentary in the study guide; questions on the lesson topics in the guide, which are prepared individually; and finally a facilitated small group discussion that brings all these elements together. The small group shares their insights and questions, while supporting each other during this journey of faith.
Many parishes have presented CATHOLICISM multiple times, which is a wonderful way to draw larger numbers more deeply into the Faith. Now that there are complete materials in Spanish, the reach of CATHOLICISM can extend more deeply into Latino areas of the US and to other Spanish-speaking countries.
For younger audiences or intergenerational groups (i.e., parents and children), there is an adaptation of the complete study program called CATHOLICISM: The Pilgrimage Journal. The same DVDs are used; however, study guides have been rewritten with age-appropriate questions and an overall theme of “going on pilgrimage with Fr. Barron.” The beauty, truth, and goodness of the Faith are highlighted by the holy and visually engaging places we visit virtually with Fr. Barron. For more information, please go to: http://pilgrimage.wordonfire.org/
For middle and high school religious curriculum enrichment, Word on Fire has created 46 video vignettes and companion lesson plans, drawing from CATHOLICISM and the vast expertise of the Associate Superintendent and 12 teachers from the Archdiocese of New York. The New York schools are testing the materials this school year. CATHOLICISM School Enrichment will be available to all teachers and schools as a digital subscription on our website in early 2016. For more info, please go to: http://catholicismschool.wordonfire.org/
Father Barron has begun a new journey to unlock the truth behind the Church’s most influential people. CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players is a multi-part film series and study program that illumines a handful of saints, artists, mystics, and scholars who not only shaped the life of the Church, but changed the course of western civilization (http://pivotalplayers.wordonfire.org/).
So the CATHOLICSM story continues . . . your story, our story and the greatest story ever told.
This article was written by Peggy Pandaleon, Director of Faith Formation Programs at Word on Fire.