10 online ways to ignite your Catholic faith, now

“Being Catholic in Boston is a contact sport,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley said recently. 

We may laugh, but I have news: Being Catholic anywhere in America today is a contact sport. Welcome to the new normal. If you are not stepping up to assume full responsibility for your Catholic faith, it is only a matter of time before you experience a full-contact moment — with a colleague, family member or neighbor — and get roughed up. 

It doesn’t need to be this way. Rather than being flatfooted when our faith is put to the test (e.g., “You actually believe that?”), we can enter into these full-contact moments with confidence and even joy. 

But you can’t give what you don’t have. Take the leap from the passive “I’m a member” mentality to the dynamic conviction of “I’m a disciple.” As you do, put one or more of these 10 excellent and potentially life-changing online resources (nearly all free) to work for you — and get ready for the joy of contact sport. 

1. FORMED.org. Nearly every parish in our diocese offers a free subscription to this online mega-library — what some have called a “Catholic Netflix” — of videos, audio books and movies about your Catholic faith. Get your parish’s subscription code and roll up your sleeves. 

2. 2Minutes2Virtue. Each week a priest of our diocese offers a bracing reflection and practical challenge on the upcoming Sunday Gospel. Text 2m2v to 84576 and begin now. You’ll soon notice that you are entering the Sunday Mass with new intentionality and focus.

3. Walk Humbly Podcast. In his podcast, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge reflects on the gift of faith as well as recent events in a conversational and timely way. Subscribe (or listen online on the diocesan YouTube channel) and get to know your shepherd. Spoiler alert: he is an avid Eagles fan. While you’re at it, sign up for the diocesan e-newsletter to receive critical news from your bishop and diocese. 

4. Diocesan YouTube Channel. You are blessed to live in a diocese that is exploding with inspiring and educational videos on the faith — including Bishop Burbidge’s latest homilies, popular WTOP spots, as well as many diocesan workshops, talks and events. Subscribe and be enriched.

5. Word on Fire.Whether he’s commenting on Bob Dylan lyrics, atheism or the faith versus science debate, Bishop Robert Barron’s YouTube videos will help you apply your faith in new and accessible ways. 

6. Catholic Distance University, Christendom Graduate School and Divine Mercy University. Avail yourself of the three premier institutes of Catholic higher learning in your own backyard. Each of these offer online certificates, courses and degrees to help you grow in faith. (cdu.edu, graduate.christendom.edu/ and divinemercy.edu/)

7. Catholic Herald. From podcasts, videos, dynamic online content and events listings to a weekly e-newsletter, and the award-winning Catholic Herald print edition, this news outlet is your gateway to discovering local opportunities to grow in faith. 

8. Institute of Catholic Culture (ICC) Video Library. Take advantage of the powerhouse of Catholic adult faith formation right here in our diocese. With more than 700 free hours of video and audio, the ICC’s online library offers you the elements of a classical liberal arts curriculum.

9. Thomistic Institute. The Dominican Order has brought to nearly 50 college campuses a ministry that offers a unique combination of the highest academic and intellectual quality and the deepest, most vibrant Catholic faith. Best yet, all the lectures are available to you free online. 

10. Journey to Emmaus Video Curriculum. Our diocesan youth ministry office has made available an entire video-based overview of the faith complete with one-page study guides with discussion questions and prayers. Designed for youths, the curriculum is also an excellent resource for families to discuss the faith together.

Johnson is director of evangelization for the Diocese of Arlington.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018