Saturday, October 2, 2010

New Media Tool for the Whole Parish

The Internet offers challenges and opportunities for everyone. When it comes to religious education, the opportunites are vast for bringing significant content about the Catholic faith tradition to the fingertips of our Catholic youth and families. Also, with the click of the mouse or the touch of the finger, one can scroll forward into the breadth and depth of the Catholic tradition on most questions about the faith. Information is getting more and more accessible from a wider group of responsible and authoritative sources enabling better faith formation programs with more measurable results. has just made available to parishes everywhere the opportunity to obtain a parish-wide membership that allows any and all parishioners the chance to have full access to over 7,500 Church Approved Q+A. The play of more than a dozen games/quizzes at 4 challenge levels across ten knowledge categories enables real advancement in parish catechesis that engages entire families and multiple groups within the community. is a playful website and a serious tool.

St. Mary's Press as well as the Daughters of St. Paul at Pauline Books & Media are working together with on ways to advance catechesis for youth and adults through new media tools. This is a new age of opportunity and a new time to utilize what we have available in technology to advance the Gospel and build the community of faith. Pope Benedict XVI spoke to priests directly on May 16, 2010 in his Message for the 44th World Communications Day, Pope Benedict XVI stated:

To priests in particular the new media offer ever new and far-reaching pastoral possibilities, encouraging them to embody the universality of the Church’s mission, to build a vast and real fellowship, and to testify in today’s world to the new life which comes from hearing the Gospel of Jesus, the eternal Son who came among us for our salvation.

A Parish Membership to can demonstrate pastoral commitment to meeting parishioners through new digital media that is purposefully advancing the evangelical and catechetical mission of the Church.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dedication of

On the occasion of the Anaheim Religious Education Congress on March 19, 2010, we have dedicated the website to Msgr. William A. Kerr. He was a good priest and wonderful friend who knew how to bring people together, build community and serve the Church through his love of people, intelligence and good natured sense of humor. Bill saw opportunity and possibility were others saw problems and division. He was a peacemaker and an educator who always found a way to listen and encourage people of all walks of life and backgrounds. The following dedication is published on in honor of Fr. Bill Kerr:


Monsignor William A. Kerr, Jr. (1940-2009)

In this year of the priest, Msgr. Bill Kerr stands out as an inspiring example of a faithful priest, educator, diplomat and long-time friend for whom this new website is dedicated.

Msgr. Kerr's career took him from parish priest in his St. Louis hometown to campus minister at Florida State University, to vice president of The Catholic University of America, to the presidency of La Roche College in Pittsburgh, to executive director of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C.

Msgr. Kerr spent many years in Tallahassee after being assigned to the Catholic Student Center at Florida State University in 1971. He returned in 2006 as executive director of the Claude Pepper Center for International Dialogue.

Msgr. Kerr inspired the development of because of his pastoral zeal for ministry to young people of all ages, his commitment to Catholic education and his dedication to the Church in all that he did. He reached out across religious, cultural and geo-political barriers to promote understanding, dialogue and reconciliation through education. is proud to recognize Msgr. William A. Kerr as friend and mentor for the development of the website in this year of the priest.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Case for Balance in Religious Education has been launched as both a playful website and a serious tool. Structured around a dozen games intended to build faith knowledge, this brand new site opens up the breadth and depth of the rich history and tradition of the Church, making it more accessible to young people in a medium they understand.

Every Q+A encountered in recalls a person, a place, an event, an idea, a prayer, a teaching, a proverb or a song that comes from the history of faith. These bits and bytes are windows into the tradition of faith, and they are intended to recall things that ought to be shared, remembered, celebrated and appropriated for understanding our faith and informing our lives today. is not trivial, nor a trivia game. Rather, it is a powerful and significant tool presented through a playful and attractive medium to excite students of all ages to grow in religious knowledge, to build faith vocabulary, to expand awareness about the depth and breadth of the tradition and to acquire a more substantial foundation for an informed and healthy spiritual and faith-filled life. is serious about raising the bar on building faith knowledge, but does not provide a full formative catechesis. This is best provided by people to people interaction. It does provide a substantial review of the history of our faith lived over the centuries that is still relevant to our experience of faith today.

Religious education has always held two dimensions of learning in creative tension: formation and information. Both are essential. Religious “formation” emphasizes the experience of faith: a personal relationship to Christ, an active sense of belonging to the Church through participatory events like liturgy, retreats, personal prayer, and parish-based volunteer and social services to the poor, etc. Many Catholic school classrooms and parish religious education programs as well as youth and young adult groups are excellent at providing these experiential and formative aspects of learning the faith.

Just as important for religious education, however, is the acquiring of knowledge. Now more than ever in this information age, knowledge is power! Religious educators, parish leaders and parents must equip our youth with knowledge “to give an account of the hope that is in us.” That knowledge begins with the grace of the Holy Spirit, but does not grow, nor is it concrete without words, signs, stories, images, sacraments, ministry and saints. Our faith comes to expression and our conversion is real and ongoing only with the advancement of Church history, the building of a sacramental community, the sharing of doctrinal ideas, the organization of visible structure, the emergence of leaders, the commitment to mission and ministry, etc. These are the evidence and the building blocks of faith knowledge. These are in a sense, the “Catholic substance.” A conscious appropriation of this Catholic substance along with a living and active participation in the life of a Eucharistic community is important for there to be real balance in religious education that is both informative and formative.

By inviting exploration of 10 Knowledge Categories: About God, About Church, Revelation and Faith, Liturgy and Sacraments, Morality and Catholic Social Teaching, Spirituality and Prayer, Church History, Lives of the Saints, Old Testament and New Testament; opens a wider lens and broader perspective and adds to the richness of the teaching moment - teachers with students, parents with children - in the classroom, at the parish and in our homes.