At the invitation of Fr Martin Arlando, the parish priest of the Church of Divine Mercy, Penang (CDM) a team of five led by Caroline Soon travelled to CDM to give a two-day formation on the use of FORMED.ORG. The first session was held on 12th August to a group of 20 odd parishioners, most of whom had already signed up for the on-line Catholic resource that is an Augustine Institute production from the US. CDM had started subscribing to it last year and had renewed it’s subscription again this year. The team’s main intention was to allow the parishioners find creative ways to use this revolutionary digital platform that offered a wealth of Catholic information and entertaining audio talks, eBooks, feature films, documentaries and video-based study programs.
The formation began with a reflection on a bible passage taken from Matthew 28: 1-10 regarding the encounter of the women at the tomb after the resurrection. Some remarked on the bravery of the women but Caroline said her personal thoughts was that we were reminded not to be afraid as the Lord walks before us. She added that after all, Jesus, the one man, choose 12 men and conquered the world, surely we can do something successful at our parish level. We just have to have the faith in knowing that the Lord walks before us.
A variety of the material contents from FORMED.ORG were shown and some discussion was carried out on ways to implement the resources more effectively. The parishioners then arrived at the following suggestions:
1. Educating my family and friends using FORMED.ORG
2. Bringing the use of its resources to Liturgy members
3. Have a small group with common interests of some resources from FORMED.ORG for discussion.
4. Commit to FORMED.ORG personally first and then get family involved and go from there.
5. Have BEC Movie night with a film from FORMED.ORG
6. CDM have Movie night on Friday nights using FORMED.ORG
7. Start a BEC Book Club using resources from FORMED.ORG
8. Start with oneself, then family members and then move on to BEC and FLM members to gain more knowledge. Read and share.
9. Start a FORMED.ORG chat group for sharing new programmes and discussion
10. Start working with catechism class students on the use of resources on FORMED.ORG
11. Have weekly sessions on FORMED.ORG on Sundays after mass in Church.
12. Share through WhatsApp with contacts on what has been read, watched and listened to on FORMED.ORG.
13. Share with friends even through social media some interesting things learned from FORM.ORG.
14. Start a movie session sourced from FORMED.ORG at home and get together fellow Catholic members and non-Catholics.
15. Have a family formation time slot every night probably for about 20 minutes using FORMED.ORG
The formation on the second day was opened to all secondary school students. The team helped the participants register on-line with the use of their smart phones. They were also shown the various materials found and viewed clips on “Who Am I? “ by Jeremy Rivers and “Awakening“ a biblical historical fiction work by Claudia C. McAdam from the Youth/YDisciple category. They later held group discussions on “Why we do not have time for God?“
It was interesting to note that while a few other parishes have only now begun to express interest in subscribing to FORMED.ORG, this resource has been already available at CDM for the last year. The parishioners just needed to be able to devote some time each week to assess and use its resources, all paid for by the parish.
Dr. Ivan Filmer
22nd August, 2017