California Catholic Daily exclusive by Anna Rose
In 2015, the Augustine Institute and Ignatius Press spearheaded a collaborative effort to create FORMED to take the New Evangelization to new heights. People around the globe can now access Catholicism through video, audio, and ebooks accessible on most smartphones, computers, or tablets, making Catholicism more accessible than ever. Catholic radio and television has had success with bringing many souls to the Faith. The impact that FORMED.org will have is hard to quantify, but they already have over 150,000 active users, representing 2300 parishes so far. They predict 76.5 million streaming video households in North America alone by 2020.
How does the service work? Individuals or parishes buy a subscription and are given an access code. They can then use this code to access FORMED.org content on a variety of digital devices. Current content is provided by producers such as the Augustine Institute, Ignatius Press, and Word on Fire ministries. Hundreds of titles are already available, and new content is being added all the time.
Videos include “Mother Teresa” starring Olivia Hussey; St. Maximilian Kolbe’s inspirational story, “Life for Life; and the classic, “The Jeweller’s Shop”, starring Burt Lancaster and (again) Olivia Hussey. Audio selections include There is Life in the Womb, by Venerable Fulton Sheen; No Imitations: Saying “Yes” to Authentic Love by Chris Stefanick; and Dr. Scott Hahn’s six-volume apologetics series, Answering Common Objections.
FORMED.org also offers more than two dozen ebooks, such as Deus Caritas Est, the first encyclical
from Pope Benedict XVI; Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from Saint Thomas Aquinas by Peter Kreeft; and Be a Man: Becoming the Man God Created You to Be by Fr. Larry Richards.
In addition to these and many more, catechesis programs are available and include Bible study series, such as the ten-part “Evangelization and the Acts of the Apostles”; many sacramental preparation programs, including “Beloved: Mystery & Meaning of Marriage”; and several group retreat programs, such as “33 Days to Morning Glory” and “Consoling the Heart of Jesus”.
Offerings are constantly being added to each category, and many titles are also available in Spanish.
Subscriptions are $9.99 per month for individual households, $159.99 per month for parishes and $1680 for a year per parish. Dioceses subscribing may receive even further yearly discounts per parish. Parish or diocesan access codes can be shared with anyone in the parish or diocesan boundaries which makes the content available to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
“I think this is a tremendous opportunity for Catholics to create a broad community of communication that is akin to Netflix and Amazon Prime with the aim to catechize, evangelize, and strengthen the Catholic culture,” said Mark Brumley of Ignatius Press. Providing this content on demand makes it easy to provide instant information to those who have questions about the Faith.