MILFORD — The Catholic community of St. Bridget Parish in Milford, along with its associated missions of St. John Bosco in Delta and Holy Family in Fillmore, have continued their faith formation with the online theological pastoral institute of El Camino.
In keeping with the diocesan Pastoral Plan’s goal of faith formation, Father Marco Tulio Lopez, pastor, has been offering classes through the institute to all Catholics interested in participating.
Since January 2022, when the first modules were presented, Catholics from not only St. Bridget and its missions but from all over the Diocese of Salt Lake City and even from other states have participated. The institute’s modules are set to last until 2025; 11 have already been covered.
Fr. Lopez already has plans to start the program over again.
“The idea is to always have a space of online faith formation, and anyone can participate, no matter where they are,” he said. “We want to offer a formation that helps any and all Christians; we want people to have the theological elements of the faith very clear so they can do their service in a better way.”
The formation helps to share the faith within families, and also helps individuals “to be a better Catholic in your life. It also helps you in your daily life; the goal is to prepare Christians that can live their faith in any place at any time,” Fr. Lopez said.
Fr. Lopez estimates that more than 1,000 people have participated in the institute’s classes, which are offered in Spanish. However, the next round might be bilingual.
“There are many people who need to learn, and they want to learn, and so we decided to open the classes for everyone,” he added. “There is a great need for study everywhere. This way [electronically] it doesn’t matter where someone lives; everybody can participate.”
Also as part of the online formation of El Camino, Fr. Lopez is inviting all to a study of canon law, emphasizing the Sacrament of Marriage.
“We want people to know a bit more about canon law and to get a better understanding of what a marriage entails from the canon law perspective,” he said.
This presentation is geared toward those who are offering marriage formation in their parishes but is open to everyone, because “it’s very important to know what the Church tells us about the canon law about marriage; … it’s important that we all know a bit about it,” he said.
Fr. Lopez also is offering an online spiritual retreat in preparation for Pentecost; more than 100 people already have registered for it.
“Our presenter will be Fr. Christopher Harley, a missionary priest who has been doing missions all over the world,” Fr. Lopez said.
In addition to these classes, St. Bridget Parish and its missions are preparing for the Eucharistic Revival, the three-year national effort called for by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that began last year. This “is a movement to restore understanding and devotion to this great mystery here in the United States by helping us renew our worship of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist,” according to https://www.eucharisticrevival.org/.
“For me this the idea of the episcopal conference is something very special,” Fr. Lopez said. “In this initiative to revive faith in the Eucharist … I see an opportunity to help the community to get to know our faith very much better.”
With this objective in mind, Fr. Lopez organized a special catechist formation that entails forming small groups guided by community leaders that will gather twice a month in person or online to share catechism provided by Fr. Lopez.
“The goal is to accompany the community during this Eucharistic Revival but also to form them so we can all live our faith in a more conscious way,” he said.
Living the faith by acknowledging it is important because one of the priorities of the diocesan pastoral plan states that “The present culture poses serious challenges to the practice of our beliefs. Therefore, it will be necessary for every Catholic to learn more about the essential teachings of Christ and our Church in order to gain a deeper understanding of what we believe.”
Fr. Lopez said that the response is for all Catholics to make an effort to take advantage of the faith formation opportunities that are offered.
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