Robust Formation in the Faith is Essential for Our Times!

This article was posted on: July 20, 2021

As our world and Church continue to deal with many difficulties, you might be like me and be tempted to discouragement or even anger. These thoughts usually then lead me to be unsettled and agitated, followed by a loss of interior peace. After taking time for quiet reflection and prayer, I am drawn to recall something that was written by a saint: When the culture around you is headed in the wrong direction, think first about the need for personal conversion—the need for change in my own heart and seeking further growth in my relationship with Jesus Christ. Every time this situation surfaces, eventually I return to the conclusion that my own deeper conversion, in cooperation with the grace of God, is the best place to begin for seeking to make a change in the world.

In addition to prayer, an excellent way to seek ongoing conversion is through an intentional study of the Faith. There is an abundance of good Catholic resources available, however, the ideal way to study the Faith is with another person or small group, with a definite time and day, which fosters commitment and discussion.

In this regard, we have some exciting news. Through a generous donation, every person in the Diocese of La Crosse has free unlimited access to the “Franciscan at Home” learning portal. This learning platform is an incredible aid in forming adults in knowledge of the Faith, incorporating spiritual, human and pastoral aspects, so the whole person is formed as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Made up of 12 different tracks, there are currently more than 130 workshops available, with new ones being added each month. Of special note in the areas of faith and family is the “Ministry of Parenting” track, with workshops to help form parents as the primary teachers of the Faith of their children, specifically in the area of prayer with attentiveness to the development of each child’s vocation.

The Office for Catechesis and Evangelization has been piloting the use of “Franciscan at Home” with 468 active learners in our diocese who have altogether completed 294 workshops. High ratings are given by adults of various levels of Faith, with people appreciating the format. The workshops take learners through an orderly progression, with simple, engaging tasks by which they apply what they have learned to their lives. Most importantly, spiritual formation is of the highest priority and is woven throughout the workshops.

To give you an idea of the wealth of topics covered, the list below provides the 12 tracks with a sampling of three workshops that are available in each track. Each workshop is one hour, divided into 10-minute videos, followed by a simple, engaging application.

Adult Faith Study
• Christ: His Person and Works
• Holy Spirit: Converter of Hearts
• The Church: Dispenser of the Mysteries and Guardian of
the Faith

Adult Study of Sacred Scripture
• Introduction to the Old Testament
• Introduction to the New Testament
• Ten Commandments and Beatitudes

Catechist Track
• Jesus: The Center of All Catechesis (Passing on the Faith)
• Scripture: The Heart of Catechesis
• Prayer: The Spiritual Life of the Catechist

Catechumenal Ministry
(RCIA) Track

• Liturgical Components of Christian Initiation (the RCIA Process): Gateways and Sources of Grace for Conversion
• Teaching Components: Illuminating and Securing the Path of Faith
• Pastoral Components: From Initial Motivation to Firm Conviction to a Catholic Worldview

Catholic Schools Track
• The Mission of Catholic Schools and the Role of the Teachers
• The Human Person in God’s Loving Plan
• Teaching to Inform and Form

Spanish Tracks
• Español: Certificación Básica Para Catequistas
• Español: Especializaciones Ministeriales
• Familia y Fe Hispana (Hispanic Faith and Family Track)

First Proclamation and Evangelization Track
• The Initial Proclamation (the Kerygma): Key Doctrines
• Conversion: How Faith Grows or Withers
• Conversion: Evangelizing Catechetics

Forming Faith at Home Track
• Family: Domestic Church and School of Holiness
• The Family as the Context of Catechesis
• Family Systems in a Catholic School

Four Pillars of the Catechism Track
• The Father: Origin and Desire of All
• Sacrament of Confirmation
• Our Life in Christ: The Basics of Catholic Morality
• Prayer: Introduction to the Spiritual Life

Mentor Formation Track
• Being Guided and Guiding Souls
• Effectively Mentoring Others: Asking Good Questions
• Building the Mentoring Relationship: Attentive and Heart-felt Listening

Ministry of Parenting Track
• The Catholic Vision
• Parental Fortitude and Everyday Spiritual Practice
• Godly Discipline

Parish Catechetical Leader Track
• Recruiting, Training and Forming Catechists
• Teaching for Conversion
• First Penance and First Eucharist Preparation

Pastoral Accompaniment Track
• Mentoring Within a Parish
• Mentoring from Saints for Men / Mentoring from Saints for Women
• Fostering Holiness in Children Within the Family

Youth Ministry Track
• Forming Disciples for the New Evangelization
• Engaging Youth Culture
• Partnering with Families

If you would like to check out, and even “try out,” the learning system, please visit
and scroll to the bottom of the page. On the right, click on the middle blue button: “My parish or school is already registered, and I would like to set up my individual free account under that institution.” This will allow you to create a free account under your parish or school. The last step in creating an account will be to select your diocese from a drop-down box, and then from the second drop-down box your parish or school, listed by name and city. Once you have finished signing up, you will then have a dashboard, which will enable you to select from the variety of tracks on the left, and then enter one (or more than one if you wish). You can also select from the individual workshop titles on the right of your dashboard, if you wish to just explore the growing collection of titles.

A Scripture passage that means a lot to me is, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord will raise a standard against him.” (Is 59:19) I believe part of the standard the Lord is using in our time is this online learning system. I believe you will find a workshop on “Franciscan at Home” that interests you, and joining with a friend or a group to walk through this beautiful and compelling process, “you will find strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” (Ps 42:5)

If you would like to hear more about these amazing formational workshops, consider attending the virtual conference on Saturday, Aug. 7, featuring Dr. Petroc Willey as the keynote speaker. Petroc is the director of “Franciscan at Home.” The virtual conference is called “How Rooted Are You: 4 Keys to Remaining Faithful to Jesus Christ and His Church.” Cost is $10. For more information on the conference and to register, visit 

Ann Lankford
Director of the Office for Catechesis and Evangelization

Published in the July/August 2021 Catholic Life Issue

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