The Office of Adult Faith Formation

In the midst of a pandemic, virtual Rosaries, Lectio Divina, RCIA, among others faith formation and catechesis channels, are migrating to digital platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Go-to-Meeting and Zoom.

“Flatten the curve,” three words that became the norm for each of us to hear during these unprecedented times. For us in the Secretariat of Evangelization & Catechesis, it meant “hit the ground running.” Maintaining a real presence in the midst of a pandemic was an opportunity and a challenge, and posed innumerable questions:  What does this mean for our ministry? Where do we go from here? How do we continue to evangelize? How does one run a Zoom meeting after being only a participant? We found ourselves meeting as a staff every week as well as meeting with our catechetical leaders on a weekly basis to offer resources and assistance where needed. We often heard the phrase; “we are all in this together” and these words echoed throughout our universal Church. We were not simply in an isolated situation rather we shared in solidarity with all of humanity as we navigate through this turbulent storm of Covid-19. Yet, in all the uncertainty one thing was certain that is faith. “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). We could no longer meet “in person” yet this did not prevent us from meeting virtually and going forth like the Israelites crossing the Dead Sea into the unknown.

Microsoft Teams, Go-to-Meeting, and Zoom became platforms that we used to connect with others, to offer faith formation, guidance for catechesis, and moments of prayer. We have learned that many in our parishes began to do the same: virtual rosaries, Lectio Divina, RCIA and so much more. This pandemic has taught us that we can and must continue to reach out to one another. The year 2020 will not be forgotten in history and we are a part of that history. A year in which all Catholics had to give up the “source and summit of the Christian life” namely, the Eucharist, and the sacraments during lent and for longer than that. Watching the daily Mass offered by Pope Francis, Eucharistic Adoration and other forms of prayer became the new normal for many. But it also became an opportunity to worship together as a family, not rushing out of the “church” at the end of Mass, taking the time to sit with the Word of God and like Our Blessed Mother, to ponder the words in our hearts. For some who participate in the Holy Spirit Institute Volunteer Track in Spanish, the opportunity to complete their last course and seminar was life-giving. It not only gave them an opportunity to gather virtually but also enabled them to go deeper in their relationship with God and with one another. As more than one student remarked, “I look forward to the meeting so that I can be in community with others.” Another shared how the formation he had received and the pandemic gave him “new eyes” to see the needs of others and as an essential worker to not turn a “blind eye”, rather help strangers he never would have thought of helping before.

Throughout these several months, I have been a witness to the gratitude and generosity of others. Those catechetical leaders who were grateful for a call, an email, or just knowing that someone was present in case they had a need. In being that witness, I want to reiterate to you even in this time of enforced solitude the interconnectedness of our parish, our ministries, and indeed, our Catholic community through prayer. “In these difficult times, may He allow us to discover the communion that binds us and the unity which is always greater than any division” (Pope Francis, Homily 4/14/2020).

Marriage Preparation Go Digital During COVID-19 Pandemic 

The online Pre-Cana class platform was a blessing to Patricia Gianatiempo & Salvatore Musso. They were better prepared to commit to one another and staying true to one another.


In the midst of the global coronavirus crisis, the Office of Marriage, Family Formation, and Respect Life Education have consistently sought to protect the health, safety, and overall well-being of our Pre-Cana engaged couples and host couples. With so much uncertainty about the impact and scope of COVID-19, the office made both short- and long-term decisions that are believed to be in the best interest of the Pre-Cana program and the broader community. Since March 2020, All in-person Pre-Cana classes have been canceled.

In order for engaged couples to have their Pre-Cana class and meet the diocesan requirement, the office has developed an online and on-demand Pre-Cana experience. It’s a major change, as the marriage preparation for Catholics has always been done in person. In this new experience, couples will have the same content and material as a live Pre-Cana class.  The topics introduced in the online Pre-Cana include Communication and Problem-Solving Skills, Self-Awareness, Morality in Marriage, Living the Sacrament of Matrimony, Intimacy and Sexuality, Natural Family Planning, and Wedding Liturgy Planning. Once the couple finishes the course, they receive a Certificate of Completion that they can download, print, and email it to the clergyman who is preparing them for the sacrament.

This new online platform was a blessing to Patricia Gianatiempo & Salvatore Musso. They both intended on getting married in June and were worried about how they would finish their marriage preparation before their wedding. Patricia told the office that, “we were relieved to have that option to be able to do it online.” “We are better prepared because [pre-cana] shed more light on how important it is to commit to one another,” Salvatore told us that, “We learned that staying true to one another is going to be most helpful in our marriage.”

The office believes that this new online platform will be very beneficial now during these uncertain times. But it will be an option moving forward into the future.

Couples have also taken advantage of the Pre-Marriage Inventory provided by FOCCUS. The Inventory is designed to help engaged couples appreciate their unique relationship, learn more about themselves, and discuss topics important to their lifelong marriage. Taking the inventory results in a personalized Couple Report that helps target discussion topics important to marital success. While FOCCUS is not a test and is not used to label couples or predict marital outcomes, the report is used by clergy and lay leaders to help couples celebrate their relationship strengths and talk to each other about topics warranting further attention. “After taking the inventory, we believe that we are ready to walk down the aisle. We are more open with our feelings and have better communication skills”, said Lindsey Gossan. With videoconferencing platforms, couples and facilitators have been able to meet safely to discuss the results of their inventory.