Adult Faith Formation
[In Deacon Tom O'Shea's homily for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 17, 2021), he referred to a document: "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States." To read the document in its entirety, click here.]
Discipleship is a lifelong journey.
Understanding that faith formation is a lifelong pursuit is vital to our parish’s holistic philosophy for a healthy body, mind, and spirit. As beloved children of God and as members of the body of Christ, we are continually urged to know, love, and serve God more fully.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops describes adult faith formation as an essential process inviting Catholic Christians to integrate their own life experiences with knowledge of the faith, love of God, and love of neighbor. It is a complete initiation into the life of the Church as a way of forming a Christian conscience and a desire to act as Christ’s hands and feet in the world.
At St. Maria Goretti and Our Lady of the Assumption, we offer varied opportunities and venues to learn more about and grow in your faith as a Catholic Christian. Wherever you are in your faith journey, we want to walk alongside you. If you’re looking for some simple first steps, we invite you to attend Mass weekly, participate more fully in the sacraments, and take advantage of our rich Catholic traditions such as Eucharistic Adoration, the Blessing of Throats on the Feast of Saint Blaise, and praying the rosary. If you want to further deepen your initiation into the Catholic way of life, we offer Bible Study groups, a Men's Spirituality Group, book clubs, and ARISE Together in Christ meetings. If you are ready to more fully answer the call to discipleship, we offer Discipleship School that features presentations, interactive exercises, guidance on giving witness testimony to our faith, and spiritual enrichment.
For those who are interested in becoming Catholic, we encourage you to consider the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. (For more information on RCIA, please visit our Becoming Catholic section on our website.)
For more information on our current Adult Faith Formation offerings, please contact Kate McGrath, our Pastoral Associate. For information on local retreat offerings and retreat centers, go to our website's Retreat Resources section. Check out OSV Innovation Talks (think TED talks for Catholics) for inspiring, innovative talks by prominent Catholic leaders. Our website's Online Resources and Catholic apps pages also offer a variety of resources to help you expand your knowledge of Catholicism, deepen your relationship with Jesus, and connect with your faith community. Or start simply by following this advice from Fr. Gary Caster of Franciscan Media who shares a tip given to him by Saint Mother Teresa herself: "Every morning when you get up, I want you to say 'Good morning, Jesus!'"
College Student Faith Care Package
"I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name..." (Isaiah 49:15b-16 NAB). We taught our children that through the sacraments, they became members of our faith family. So now that they're young adults in college, let's show them!
Let’s keep our college-age children “in the loop” and “in our prayers” while away at school. Fill out a form, and we’ll periodically send them prayers for midterms and finals, helpful faith-based articles, seasonal plug-in activities, and every college student's lifeline...SNACKS! For more information or to volunteer to help grow this ministry, contact Kate McGrath.
Here's a helpful list of online resources for college students.
Our Lady of the Assumption: Mondays 7:00-8:00 pm
Saint Maria Goretti: First thursday of every month 9:30 am-12:00 noon
The Blessed Sacrament is exposed and adored by parishioners to pray before the Lord Jesus present in the Monstrance.
A Rosary prayer group meets at 8:30 am (prior to the 9:00 am Mass) on Wednesdays at Our Lady of the Assumption Church. For those who can't or prefer not to attend in person, they are welcome to join via Zoom. Please contact Piri Collard for more information.
The Lynnfield Knights of Columbus promotes devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through their 5th Sunday Rosary Program which takes place after the 7am Mass at OLA every month that has five Sundays.
Click here for instructions on HOW TO PRAY THE ROSARY.
Whether you are unfamiliar with the practice of praying the rosary or you more fully experience the beauty of the Rosary when joined by another prayer warrior, St. Maria Goretti parishioner Corinna Tavano offers virtual rosary videos:
Joyful Mysteries Rosary
Luminous Mysteries Rosary
Glorious Mysteries Rosary
Sorrowful Mysteries Rosary
Corinna also invites you to pray the rosary with her live through Zoom on Tuesday mornings at 8:30am. Please email Corinna and use the word ROSARY (all caps) in the subject line.
Stations of the Cross
For times when you cannot enter one of our churches, but would like pray the devotions of the Way of the Cross, we offer this virtual Stations of the Cross.
Men's Spirituality Group
The Men’s Group meets on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 7:45-8:45 am at the priests’ residence next to St. Maria Goretti Church to discuss upcoming Scripture readings for the Sunday Mass, and examine ways to apply the readings to everyday life. Please contact John DiBello.
Our Bible Study group meets on Fridays after the 9:45am Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption's Church Hall. Each five-week session focuses on different aspects of the Bible and how we can incorporate them into our daily lives. For more information, please contact Piri Collard.
ARISE Together in Christ
ARISE Together in Christ renews and deepens spirituality through the opportunity to meet Jesus Christ in scripture, to explore faith's connection to daily life, and small-group faith sharing in a warm and welcoming environment. This format invites people to develop a closer relationship with Christ, deepen their faith, grow in community, and reach out in service to others. ARISE sessions are usually offered during Advent and Lent. For more information, please contact Pastoral Associate Donna Hegan.
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands “Go and make disciples.” It might surprise you to know that he was talking to YOU. When we are baptized, we are signed up to be disciples. Our parents promise to raise us to evangelize. Really.
By virtue of our baptism, we promise to work as a disciple, to bring people closer to God. The reality is, however, that we don’t always have the tools necessary to make that happen. For example, what do we say about the Catholic Church to someone who is struggling with their sexual identity? Or, what do we say to a family who has lost a loved one to suicide and wonders if that person has made it to heaven? Do we know what to say to a woman who has had an abortion and is too ashamed to meet with a priest for Confession? How do we convince a divorced man or woman that they can receive Communion, when they believed it was common knowledge that they weren’t allowed to do so?
This is why our parish, in cooperation with St. Theresa’s in North Reading, has launched Discipleship School for our parishioners. There are answers that all of us seek to hot topics in the Catholic Church. In our daily lives, we meet people who have questions about our beliefs on God, the Catholic Church, heaven, the Holy Eucharist.... and we should have answers. We need to be prepared to know what to say to those who have been away from the church and want to return, or people who are thinking of leaving the church and need to be encouraged to stay.
For the inaugural session, 30 people from St. Maria Goretti, Our Lady of the Assumption, and St. Theresa’s Church in North Reading were invited to participate. Students not only learn what a disciple is, but are empowered to go out into the world and be good ones. We want to start a wave of intentional, emboldened disciples. It can start here. It can start with us. Go and make disciples.
Online Prayer Services
We also offer virtual prayer services that can be accessed from the comfort of home, at your convenience, and whenever you feel the call for a little spiritual uplifting or reflection. Music is provided by our own parish choirs.
Go to our Online Prayer Services page.
Throughout the year, other opportunities for adult faith formation are offered. In the past, these have included Advent prayer services, Lenten prayer services, Catholicism for Dummies, a catechetical series on the Last Seven Words of Christ, a vocations discussion panel, movie mornings, and a wide range of speakers. Please check our website's Events page and our weekly bulletin for current information.
Geared for All...
That Catholic Show's New Evangelizers produce and distribute free online catechetical materials to help Catholics know their faith, live their faith, and share their faith more effectively. The show is humorous yet reverent, and offers easily digestible answers to things we Catholics maybe should know about our faith, but don't.
Discerning Hearts is an apostolate dedicated to evangelization and spiritual formation through new media. Its various podcasts are aimed at evangelization, catechesis, and spiritual renewal.
Godsplaining is a weekly podcast with five Dominican friars musing on all things Catholic. Considering topics philosophical, theological, cultural, and beyond, they present ideas from the Church’s tradition and brings them to bear on life's most urgent questions.
Ask Father Josh is a Catholic question and answer podcast hosted by Fr. Josh Johnson that strives to help listeners who bring their tricky life questions.
The Art of Catholic with Matthew Leonard is a podcast hosted by Catholic evangelist and filmmaker Matthew Leonard with joyful, passionate explanations of the deep truths of the faith, as well as interviews with Catholic luminaries. This is a deep and meaty listen.
Little with Great Love website uses vignettes from the lives of saints to offer support in home, health, and heart through articles and podcasts.
The Catholic Underground podcast exists to "attempt to find the Still Small Voice in the whirlwind of the digital continent by commenting on the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in our culture."
The Poco a Poco podcast with the Franciscan Friars of Renewal offers "Practical Spirituality." Fr. Innocent, Fr. Angelus and Fr. Mark-Mary share stories and wisdom from years of prayer, community life, and work with the poor, with topics as varied as mental health, the confessional, and NYC neighbors. The mission is to accompany all pilgrims as they walk step by step, little by little, poco a poco on their pilgrimage to the Father's house.
The Catholic Podcast is hosted by Joe Heschmeyer (Shameless Popery, School of Faith) and Chloe Langr (Letters for Women) covering all things Catholic: theology, spirituality, Catholic family life, and the state of the Catholic Church today. New episodes released every Monday.
The Road to Emmaus podcast, hosted by Dr. Scott Hahn, examines the deeply biblical roots of Catholic teaching and practice. He explains how Sacred Scripture forms and informs our notions of morality and spirituality, liturgy and the sacraments, and so much more.
In his Word on Fire Show podcast, Bishop Barron discusses all things faith and culture in a longer form, allowing listeners to dive deeper into pondering the topics discussed.
Geared for Parents...
Catholic Mom's mission is to support and encourage every woman in the vocation of Catholic motherhood through daily blog posts, daily Gospel reflections, a weekly podcast, live video interactions, and free downloadable Sunday Gospel activities.
Me & My House is an organization that offers free parenting resources and blogs, and a fee-based parenting program to support Catholic parents striving to build a family culture centered on Christ.
Blessed Catholic Mom's goal is to provide practical ideas, encouragement, and inspiration to help fellow moms in their vocation as a disciple of Christ, a wife, and a mother.
Geared for Women...
Blessed is She is a website created by and focused on Catholic women who desire a deeper and more meaningful prayer life and a community with which to share it.
Abiding Together is a weekly podcast hosted by Michelle Benzinger, Sr. Miriam James Heidland, and Heather Khym, providing a place of connection, rest and encouragement for people who are on the journey of living out their passion and purpose in Jesus Christ.
Catholic Women's Group is a blog that aspires to embrace femininity, protect purity, inspire hope, develop courage, walk fearlessly in faith together and spread the love of our Lord in a peaceful and passionate community of Sisters in Christ.
Do Something Beautiful is a faith-filled podcast hosted by Leah Darrow (former model and contestant on America's Next Top Model) about "everyday heroes and saints who live among us."
Geared for Men...
Catholic Bytes is a podcast that offers short, dynamic talks about the faith for people who don't have time to sit down for an in-depth study of scripture, dogma, and Church history. Features Fr. Greg Gerhart, Fr. Conrad Murphy, Fr. George Elliott, and Fr. Andrew Mattingly.
The Catholic Man Show is a podcast hosted by Adam Minihan and David Niles. Real, relatable, and often comical, Adam and David have a conversation promoting the lost art of living virtuously. Every episode includes sharing "a manly drink," "manly gear," and "a manly topic."
Pints with Aquinas is the perfect podcast if you love theology and Church history! Every episode revolves around the question, "If you could sit down with St. Thomas Aquinas over a pint of beer and ask him any one question, what would it be?" as addressed by St. Thomas in The Summa Theologica.
The Liturgy Guys is an initiative of the Liturgical Institute at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, IL. Christopher Carstens and Dr. Denis McNamara, faculty members at the Liturgical Institute, sit down with host Jesse Weiler every week to talk about Catholic Liturgy.
dude|Catholic podcast is a series of conversations and interviews, hosted by two dudes trying to live and encourage others to live "like good Catholic men in a world that's starving for what most think is irrelevant." It feels like sitting down to chat with friends.