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Formed.org: Can it Form Us?

Some parishes in our diocese have memberships to the website Formed.org, enabling their parishioners to access Catholic resources hosted there. Formed.org is an online platform, which some have nicknamed the “Catholic Netflix.” It hosts an impressive amount of content including Bible studies, presentations on the sacraments, on Catholic thinkers, saints, and theology. Formats include video programs and feature films, audio presentations and downloadable books, all accessible on demand through the Internet. You may already be familiar with some of the programs used in small group parish settings, such as the Symbolon Bible study or Fr. Michael Gaitley’s retreat, 33 Days to Morning Glory. At the website these are all available to revisit whenever and wherever you are. The website is simple and reliable to use and has proved very popular with many parishioners I have spoken to.

Recently I checked Formed.org out in depth. I found many things there to encourage and challenge my faith. I particularly liked the Opening the Word segments which give short video commentaries for each Sunday Gospel reading. Designed for RCIA, a printable leader’s guide and participant’s journal are available for each Sunday. Although the translation used is from the New American Bible, differing slightly from the New Revised Standard Version we hear at Mass, the commentary still applies.

I also listened to Keep Holy the Sabbath by Dr. Tim Gray. Gray has an in-your-face style that some will find compelling and convincing but others defensive or alienating. Similarly the video presentation Why God Still Matters by Karlo Broussard, of Catholic Answers, comes out fighting against public atheists, such as Christopher Hitchens, using philosophy and reason to undermine the strident claims that there is no God. While their arguments here are traditional Catholic teaching, the apologetic sensibility of these speakers bleeds into other content on the site giving it an energetic but combative stance, of a church newly embattled (hasn’t it always been?) and a forceful rather than humble evangelization.

Many parishioners have already experienced Dr. Edward Sri as an engaging speaker. I watched his class room discussions with college-aged students as he presented on relativism in Who Am I to Judge?: Responding to Relativism with Logic and Love. Sri made some strong and substantial points that I could imagine using in discussing my faith with others. As a whole the speakers bring welcome clarity to points of theology. It is interesting to note, though, the lack of diversity in style and presentation. It took me a while to discover authoritative women’s voices, although I found Dr. Mary Healy delivering the Lectio Bible Study on Evangelization looking at the Book of Acts. Cut and dried answers and “I know I’m right” fervour leaves little room for real debate. The audio lecture on G.K. Chesterton seems less about the man and his faith than a thinly veiled partisan political speech. This style could alienate some parishioners.

These issues aside all the video that I watched was of consistently high quality and a wonderful starting point for parish meetings and discussion. Parishioners will have to buy workbooks and other resources in order to get the full benefit of some sessions but the content goes a long way to helping form Catholics in our faith albeit with a particular flavour. Formed.org is a great resource for busy parishes although it would be a mistake to think it covers all bases. There is little on Catholic Social Teaching and there is a “preaching to the converted” tone – perhaps not surprising for a “Catholic Netflix,” but which may make it less helpful for new Catholics or inquirers. Still the site is evolving. Perhaps the Augustine Institute, owners of Formed.org could be persuaded to diversify and include Canadian content, or materials on Catholic Social Teaching? It you have the chance I urge you to take a look. Can Formed.org be a wholesome part of your formation in faith?

Related Offices Archives Carillon Library
Related Themes Catholic Life Religious Education Formation

Leaving the World a Little Better Than We Found It

If you make a donation to the Diocese this year, you will notice your tax receipt speaks to the integral part of stewardship to our faith.

Biblical stewardship is more than giving of time, talent and treasure. “True generosity has no limits. When we say that mature disciples are to answer the call of Jesus Christ regardless of the cost, we are inviting good stewards to embody this type of generosity. We can be the person who does not respond to the call, be the person who responds and gives what is required, or finally, be the person who seeks to give above and beyond what is required. God doesn’t just give us what we need, but He gives us more than we need. Made in His image, we are called to do the same. If we try to live in this manner every day, then we might just succeed on leaving this world a little better than the way we found it” [Tracy Earl Welliver, Catholic Stewardship Coach].

At the core of all the charitable work we as Catholics engage in is a desire to live Christian stewardship in all we do, striving to make the world a better place. Each parish has elements of community outreach; many parishioners volunteer with or donate to their favourite charity. At a diocesan level, the Together in Action (TIA) Granting Program is one very tangible way in which our efforts to make the world a little better can be measured. We wanted to share a story with you in celebration of your generous giving to TIA and to encourage all of us to find other ways to make a difference in our communities around southern Alberta.

This year, Catholic Family Service (CFS) is celebrating 60 years of providing for the needs of people in Calgary and the surrounding area. The Diocese is honoured to partner with this amazing organization through the TIA granting program and this year marks 20 years of support of CFS’s Family & Schools Together (F&ST) program. This ground-breaking program, recognized by the United Nations, has connected families with their schools and communities since 1996. Recognizing that feeling connected and being part of a community has a big impact on our quality of life, the program works to give parents the support they need to be positive role models within their family and the community. Parents are empowered through education, group sessions and mentoring to: be leaders and role models for their family; be involved in their child’s school; and ensure their children are healthy and thriving both socially and academically.

We know that the ties that bind and make us strong go beyond just our immediate families. Relationships with friends and neighbours, schools, teachers, coaches, etc. are just as important to our health and well-being. Knowing we are not alone in our life journey can make all the difference. As one program parent explained it:

Our family enjoys every component of F&ST! My husband and I especially like being in Parent Group and find it very helpful to talk with other parents who are facing the same challenges as us. Each week our family is becoming more and more connected through F&ST. Our house is calmer after the program, my stress levels are reduced and we have started opening up our communication at home.

We all have gifts and talents that we can share by volunteering in our local communities with organizations like CFS. And by supporting TIA with your contributions, you are helping CFS and more than 40 other charities locally and internationally help make the world a better place! Thank you for working Together in Action with your fellow Catholics.

Related Offices Carillon Charities & Development Related Programs Together in Action
Related Themes Charities Together in Action Bishop's Appeal

Properties and Infrastructure

The following resources are made available by the Business Office for the care and maintenance of diocesan properties and infrastructure. If you need more information, contact Alejandro Henao at alejandro.henao@calgarydiocese.ca, or at 403-218-5545.

Related Offices Business
Related Themes Resources

Indulgences and Events: Jubilee Year of Fatima

Partial Indulgence

The Most Rev. William T. McGrattan, Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary, has issued a decree of partial indulgence to be granted during the Jubilee Year of Fatima.

The partial indulgence can be obtained by visiting the Our Lady of Fatima Parish at 4747 30 St. SE, between the dates of April 18, 2017 and December 31, 2017 (see visiting times below). Those who seek to obtain this partial indulgence must "devotedly pray before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima," invoking her intercession.

In addition, the faithful must be reminded, according to the Code of Canon Law, the following:

  • "To be capable of gaining indulgences, a person must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least at the end of the prescribed works" (Canon 996 § 1)
  • "To gain indulgences, however, a capable subject must have at least the general intention of acquiring them and must fulfill the enjoined works in the established time and the proper method, according to the tenor of the grant" (§ 2)

Plenary Indulgence

In addition, the Holy Father Pope Francis has also granted a plenary indulgence which can be obtained throughout the Jubilee Year, which began on November 27, 2016 and ending on November 26, 2017.

This plenary indulgence is granted through the following:

  1. By making a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Fatime in Portugal, and "devotedly participate in a celebration or prayer in honor of the Virgin Mary." In addition, the individual must also pray the Our Father, recite the Creed, and invoke Our Lady of Fatima
  2. By visiting, with devotion, and praying before an image of Our Lady of Fatima that is displayed for public veneration, during the anniversary days of the apparitions (the 13th of each month from May to October 2017). In addition, the individual must "participate there in any celebration or prayer in honor of the Virgin Mary" and pray the Our Father, recite the Creed, and invoke Our Lady of Fatima
  3. For the elderly and infirm: praying before an image of Our Lady of Fatima and spiritually uniting to God, through the Blessed Mother, all their "prayers and pains, or the sacrifices of their own lives"

To obtain the plenary indulgence, the faithful must fulfill the ordinary conditions: go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, and be truly repentant and have firm resolve to be detached from sin.

Click here to read Concession of Plenary Indulgence, issued from the Shrine of Fatima, in full.

Our Lady of Fatima Parish: Centennial Celebrations and Visiting Times

Address: 4747 30th St. SE. Visiting times are the following: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday (3PM - 8PM). Saturday (10AM - 6PM). Sunday (8AM - 2PM)

  • Wednesday, May 10, 2017:
    • 6:30 PM - Rosary Followed by Holy Mass
    • 8:00 PM - All Generations Will Call Me Blessed: A concert in honor of Our Lady in 5 languages
  • Thursday, May 11, 2017
    • 6:30PM - Holy Mass
    • 7:30 PM - The Rosary Rediscovered: Experience the beauty of the Rosary in its choral recitation, live classical harp music, and teachings by recent Popes
  • Friday, May 12, 2017
    • 6:30 PM - Rosary followed by Holy Mass
    • 8:00 PM - Dramatic performance of the Fatima apparitions (English)
  • Saturday, May 13, 2017
    • 5:00 PM - Rosary
    • 6:00 PM - Solemn Mass presided by Bishop McGrattan, followed by candlelight procession
  • Sunday, May 14, 2017
    • 12:00 PM - Holy Mass, folowwed by dramatic performance of the Fatima apparitions (Portuguese)

Resources

Related Offices Chancellor
Related Themes Catholic Life Diocesan Event Diocesan Life

Diocesan Finance Council

The Diocesan Finance Council (DFC) in the Diocese of Calgary exists to offer assistance and guidance to the Bishop in the administration of the temporal goods of the Diocese. In accordance with the Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church, Canon 492 requires the Bishop to establish a finance council.

Click here to access the Finance Council Policy.

Related Offices Business
Related Themes Committee and Commissions
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