Evangelization, Bible series offered to parishes for Lent

The archdiocesan Catholic Education Center's Department of Religious Education has two programs that parishes may use during Lent to help people respond to the call of Pope Francis to reach out to others in the spirit of the New Evangelization.

The first program is titled "Catholicism: The New Evangelization" and is presented by Father Robert Barron. The Education Office noted that Father Barron has been described as the new Archbishop Fulton Sheen, a popular evangelizer with a weekly TV show in the 1950s.

"The intent of the program is to remind everyone -- priests, religious and laity -- that we are all called to be evangelizers and that our efforts in evangelization need to be principally directed to those who, though baptized, have drifted away from the Church and live without reference to the Christian life," Msgr. John Unger, deputy superintendent for catechesis and evangelization for the Catholic Education Center, said in a note to parishes.

The six-week DVD program with Father Barron "fits quite nicely into the season of Lent," Msgr. Unger stated.

The DVD shows Father Barron as he travels around the world to showcase the new evangelization, telling of Catholics who spread the faith with new ardor, new expressions and new methods. These individuals have answered the call to spread the Good News in an increasingly secular culture.

The evangelizing priest, seminary professor and director of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries frequently uses YouTube as a medium to share the faith. He is the rector and president at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in the Chicago area. Father Barron's initial "Catholicism" 10-part documentary series and study program about the Catholic faith was shown on public television and EWTN and is available as a boxed set as well. A book based on that series was published by Doubleday.

The second program is the Liguori Catholic Bible Study Series. "While all the books of the Bible will eventually be produced, we are suggesting that for Lent we begin with the Acts of the Apostles, which fits the emphasis of evangelization as we see the early Church beginning to grow and reach out to others," Msgr. Unger noted.

The Bible study series is an eight-week print program. This series introduces readers to the themes, events, and personalities of the Bible and serves as a historical survey of the books of the Bible and how they came to be. Most importantly, it contains an easy-to-use method to pray with Scripture.

The series helps Catholics study the Bible as well as find a way to suitably pray with it and find hope in its message. It provides commentary on the text in simple language with supporting background material provided.

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