“The new evangelization, as we have heard, needs to be ardent and expressive,” said Rev. Alexander Castillo, who serves as director of Faith Formation and Evangelization for the Diocese of Oakland.
“Pope Francis calls us to own the process of the new evangelization. He makes it very clear we need to meet people where they are,” Father Castillo says.
And where are the people?
“Our people spend a lot of time on the Internet and on their phone,” Father Castillo said.
To meet the people where they are, the Department of Faith Formation and Evangelization is promoting the use of Formed, an online Catholic platform.
Formed offers Catholic content in both English and Spanish for formation, enrichment and entertainment for Catholics, including families, ministry leaders, catechists and parishes. It is a joint venture of the Augustine Institute, Lighthouse Catholic Media, Ignatius Press and others.
“It is unlike anything we have seen on the digital horizon and it is authentically Catholic,” said Patti Collyer, diocesan coordinator of faith formation for children and youth.
Formed is already in use in a dozen parishes in the diocese, including St. Anthony in Oakley, St. Margaret Mary in Oakland and St. Edward in Newark, where Clare Beltran, director of religious education, will also help to familiarize new users not only with Formed’s content, but its possibilities.
Parish leaders, as well as leaders within groups within parishes, such as Bible study, are invited to learn about Formed on May 16. A workshop will be presented in English from 10 a.m. to noon at St. Mary Parish in Walnut Creek. That evening, from 7 to 9 p.m., at St. Lawrence O’Toole Parish in Oakland, workshops will be presented in English and in Spanish.
Formed will be available for purchase by parishes at a discounted rate during May. The yearly cost for a parish is about $1,600; parishes with fewer than 300 families would pay about half that. The 12 parishes using Formed average more than 160 parishioners signed on to the program. Formed can be accessed on phones, tablets and computers.
Formed is great, Beltran said, for family movie nights, with a selection of family-friendly movies. “Formed has a lot of great saint movies,” she said. “It’s a great way to introduce our kids to saints.”
People need solid sources of information, Father Castillo said. An individual might use it to read a book; a catechist might look for ways to illustrate a lesson; a pastor could use it for information for a talk.
“It’s valuable for everybody,” he said.
Full story at Catholic Voice Oakland.