“There is a new Roman road today,” says Dr. Tim Gray, president of the Augustine Institute, in explaining how the Catholic program “Formed” seeks to combine the zeal of the early Church with the tools of the digital age, “The new Roman road is the internet and the digital age. We need to take up these roads for the faith, for Jesus Christ.”
FORMED is one of the fastest growing Catholic programs today, described as “a Netflix-like VOD and digital content service for both seeker and believer that features the best audio, video, e-books and feature-length films from some of the world’s most credible Catholic sources, such as the Augustine Institute, Ignatius Press, and Word on Fire ministries.”
Augustine Institute says there are now more than 210,000 FORMED users in over 2,300 parishes in the United States, with the website—formed.org—having about 2 million page views each month. And more dioceses are using the FORMED program; in 2016, the dioceses of Baker, Cincinnati, Lincoln, Colorado Springs, Philadelphia and Cheyenne used the program with great success. Other dioceses to implement FORMED recently include Arlington, Birmingham and the Archdiocese of New York, the second-largest diocese in the U.S.. The 2.6 million parishioners in the 296 parishes in the Archdiocese of New York, have unlimited access to the expansive FORMED content, at no cost, for the next year.
On December 1st, Cardinal Timothy Dolan sent out his Advent message, encouraging Catholics to use FORMED. He wrote:
Can I suggest one way you might fit some Advent preparation into your busy schedule? Spend some time on FORMED.org, if you haven’t already signed up. Thanks to a generous benefactor, all parishes in the Archdiocese of New York are currently signed up for this online platform that provides Catholic content such as movies, E-books, audio talks, Bible studies, and more! There is an Advent study, as well as a new program on the Sacrament of Confession, called Forgiven. I especially encourage you to watch this and prepare for our Archdiocesan-wide Reconciliation Monday on December 19.
The featured content on FORMED includes the “Catholicism” series by Bishop Robert Barron and his Word on Fire apostolate; the 12-session video program “Beloved” that “uncovers the mystery and the meaning of the sacrament of marriage”; the classic movie “The Jeweler’s Shop”, which is based on St. Pope John Paul II’s best-selling book.
The content featured on FORMED includes Bishop Robert Barron’s entire Catholicism series; “Beloved”, a 12-session video program that uncovers the mystery and the meaning of the sacrament of marriage; The Jeweler’s Shop, a classic movie based on St. Pope John Paul II’s bestselling book; and the popular conversion story, Rome Sweet Home, by Scott and Kimberly Hahn.
“The use of FORMED and the small group concept has transformed our parish community,” says Annie Grandell, who is the coordinator of senior high youth formation at St. Mary’s and St. Michael’s parishes in Stillwater, Minnesota. “We are using it to journey through the retreat experience of the Hearts Afire parish-based program, where we gather weekly and then watch the videos on FORMED. So many people’s lives are changing — it truly has been an extraordinary gift during this extraordinary Year of Mercy!”
FORMED is frequently adding new content, including the recent addition of “Forgiven: The Transforming Power of Confession”, a sacramental preparation program that explores the grace and healing offered in confession, demonstrating how this sacrament of mercy reveals the depth and bounty of God’s love. The first two “Forgiven” sessions are now available on FORMED. Children’s content is coming soon, including three animated films from “Lumen”, audio dramas on the lives of the saints, a video program that is a dramatization of “Kristoph and the First Christmas Tree”, and e-books from Sophia Press.
In addition, the program will also soon feature “Brother Francis: The Barefoot Saint of Assisi”, a 10-part audio drama from the Augustine Institute Radio Theatre about the life of Francis of Assisi, the fun-loving son of wealth and privilege who gave up everything for the sake of Christ.
To learn more about FORMED, please visit www.formed.org.
Editor’s note: Catholic World Report readers who leave a comment on this story are automatically qualified for a special giveaway. The winner will receive a free one-year individual subscription to FORMED (about a $120 value), and two runner-up winners will receive copies of Augustine Institute President Dr. Tim Gray’s latest talk, “Can You Trust God?” Winners will be selected on Monday, December 12th.
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