Run a Parish-Wide Study
One way to give your community the gift of FORMED is by running a parish-wide study.
A parish-wide study is meant to help Catholics build holy habits and become proactive in their own faith formation as individuals and families. By encouraging parishioners to take part in a parish-wide study, you empower the individuals and families to begin building these holy habits and learning their faith on a regular basis on FORMED.
Why Run a Parish-Wide Study?
Jesus teaches that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Sadly, the overwhelming majority of Catholics are spiritually starving because they do not have the habits of prayer, study and piety. These habits root Catholics into the life of the Church, so it should not surprise us that so many, especially the young, are drifting away.
Keys to an effective parish wide study are:
- Pastor’s involvement and personal invitation
- On-going reminders in the bulletin, announcements, and through personal invitations
- Delving into the study in homilies to help the community learn as one.
How to Run a Parish-Wide Study with FORMED
Check out the Augustine Institute’s discounted study guides, specially priced for parishes with FORMED. Study guides are downloadable for FREE with a FORMED On Demand subscription and can be printed in-house, but many parishes prefer the ease and comparable cost of ordering discounted guides in bulk from the FORMED Market.
2. Extend an Invitation to Participate
Use your printed materials to spread the word in your bulletin, gathering space, and invite the whole community to take part through a pulpit pitch (found with the Parish-Wide Study Resources). Most importantly, extend personal invitations to families, small groups, and individuals.
3. Go Through the Study
Use the study’s Homily Talking Points (found with the Parish-Wide Study Resources) to continue delving into the study as a parish family every Sunday. Use social media, weekly announcements, your parish website, and your bulletin to remind parishioners to watch this week’s episode.
Create a FORMED Community discussion group for your parish-wide study in which participants can watch and discuss what they are learning right on FORMED. This added element provides a place of connection and an opportunity to share faith even beyond the parish walls.
Does your parish community speak Spanish and English?
Parish Wide Studies (PWS) unite us as a family of faith. The parishes with different ethnic ministries, particularly the Hispanic ministry, are present in every diocese of the United States from East to West. This diverse presence is one of the greatest blessings for the Church in the last few decades, but many pastors in these communities feel as if they are running “two parishes under one roof.” The sense of unity and collaboration that should be part of every Catholic community is difficult to reach because each group uses its own programs, models, and content. At the Augustine Institute, we believe what St. John Paul II proclaimed in Novo Millennio Ineunte: “To make the Church the home and the school of communion: that is the great challenge facing us in the millennium which is now beginning, if we wish to be faithful to God’s plan and respond to the world’s deepest yearnings” (#43).
For that reason, we have created the One Family Under God initiative. Our Catholic faith is the uniting bond that calls us and brings us together. It is not by knowing other cultures and customs that we build the unity of the Body of Christ, but by acknowledging and embracing our common Catholic faith. Being Catholics before being Hispanics, Anglos, or Asians, we unite fully in the faith of our one Church. At FORMED, we want all parishioners—regardless of language or national origin—growing, learning, and strengthening their faith and relationship with our one Lord Jesus Christ in the Church. With the One Family Under God initiative, all parishioners will watch the same content, in their own language, but nothing will be specifically Hispanic or American; rather it will be Catholic.
To use a parish-wide study to build unity within your parish family, add step 4:
4. Celebrate as One Family Under God
Invite all parishioners to take part in the Parish Wide Study in their own language. At the end, invite them to celebrate that they have been nourished by the common faith of the Church. By recognizing that the Catholic faith which unites us is greater than our differences, we will be open to living and collaborating as a family, human and fragile, but filled with our Lord’s grace to be One Family Under God.