BRIDGEPORT—“We’re not watering down formation by using digital methods,” said Rose-Talbot Babey, director of parish engagement for the Diocese of Bridgeport. “The expectation is still high.”
The Office of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Bridgeport hosted a “Quick Wins for Faith Formation” session on October 26, 9 am-3 pm at the Catholic Center, which was open to directors of religious education and faith formation leaders throughout the diocese.
Author John Roberto updated DRE’s and leaders in faith formation on parent faith forming practices and ways to incorporate a blended faith formation program in their parishes.
“You want to use these methods to help you do things that you couldn’t otherwise do any other way,” said John Roberto.
John Roberto is president of Lifelong Faith Associates and works as a consultant to churches and national organizations, teaches courses and conducts workshops in faith formation and has authored books and program manuals in faith formation. He is also the project coordinator of the “Certificate in Faith Formation for the 21st Century”—a two-year online ministry education program, sponsored by Vibrant Faith.
His latest publications include Families at the Center of Faith Formation (editor and co-author, 2016), Seasons of Adult Faith Formation (editor and co-author, 2015), Reimagining Faith Formation for the 21st Century (2015), Generations Together (co-authored, 2014), Faith Formation 2020(2010), and Becoming a Church of Lifelong Learners (2006). He was the creator and project coordinator of the Generations of Faith Project—a five-year Lilly Endowment funded project from 2001-2006—to develop intergenerational faith formation in Catholic parishes across the United States.
Roberto discussed how the blended strategy of faith formation incorporates online, at home and at church. “With the focus on hours of engagement, we can expand ministry in ways we couldn’t always do on campus,” explained Roberto.
“Giving parents options accounts for diversity of all learners,” Roberto told faith formation leaders.
Attendees discussed different ways they could use technology to make information more accessible across platforms and ways to engage parents, grandparents and the whole family.
DRE’s also discussed ideas such as including videos on their websites, encouraging prayer practices in the home, and meeting three or four times a year to demonstrate what students have been learning.
Many gathered remarked that they were encouraged by these new and innovative ideas and couldn’t wait to implement them in their faith formation programs.
(The goal of the Office of Faith Formation is to foster, guide, and support the endeavor of life-long formation in the teachings of Christ and all aspects of the Catholic Faith on both the parish and diocesan levels. Under the direction of the Bishop, chief catechist of the diocese, the Office of Faith Formation strives to accomplish this goal of catechesis and evangelization for all ages by supporting and building up marriage preparation, parish engagement, and youth and young adult engagement.)