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Faith Formation from Home

Prayer offered by Pope Francis to our Holy Mother for protection during this pandemic:

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.

We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.

At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain,

with steadfast faith.

You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.

as you did at Cana of Galilee,

We are certain that you will provide, so that,

joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,

to conform ourselves to the Father’s will

and to do what Jesus tells us:

He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us,

through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.

We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.

Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

A message from His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan

We encourage you to read Cardinal Dolan’s essay on finding our way out of the dark vulnerable times, open here.


A Message from the Director of Adult Faith Formation

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Many of you have been asking the question: Why would God allow such a pandemic as the coronavirus? I don’t believe that God intended for this pandemic. It was not part of His plan. He didn’t want sickness and death. When we think about the story of creation, we see that He created a world where there was none. Only because of the evil and the sin that entered and fractured His original goodness is it that death and suffering exist. Some of you may be asking “Well, then, where is God right now in this crisis?” He is present! He is with us through our heroic healthcare workers, police officers, transit workers, our friends at home caring for the sick, our neighbors. He is working through our agencies such as Catholic Charities and ArchCare, and so many agencies of people of good will working day and night to move us forward!

Let us not forget, we can find Him in prayer. Prayer is a meeting with Jesus, a conversation with the Lord. This past Lent we read the story of the woman at the well that had a conversation with Jesus. His Eminence Cardinal Dolan reminded us in his homily that day that Jesus asked the woman for a drink, but more than a physical thirst for water, He was thirsting for her faith and her trust. Likewise He is thirsting for our faith and our trust. During this time of difficulty, will we choose to believe in God’s goodness?  Will we admit that we need God? Like the woman, He wants to give us eternal life, and He has given us that gift! Will we allow our present situation to be transformed by a meeting with Him? And afterwards, will we share our story of how great He is just like the woman at the well?

Many of us are suffering right now from the effects of this virus, and mourning loved ones that have died. Jesus cries with us. Just as He did when he learned of Lazarus’ death, He cried. Lazarus had died, but Jesus brought him back to life. Because of this miracle many came to believe in Him. Jesus can also transform our suffering to glorify God. If we but have faith, He can transform us. Just as Lazarus’ sister Martha said to Jesus, “I know whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” That’s the faith we need. We may be tempted to doubt if the Lord knows what we’re going through. Let Him show you His hands and His feet; His wounds. He knows. He bears His wounds and so do we. Pope St. John Paul II wrote on the importance of redemptive suffering, that is of uniting our suffering to the crucified Jesus in his Salvifici Doloris. Let us contemplate his words during these difficult times:

“Redemption, even though it was completely achieved by Christ’s suffering, lives on and in its own special way develops in the history of man. It lives and develops as the body of Christ, the Church, and in this dimension every human suffering, by reason of the loving union with Christ, completes the suffering of Christ. It completes that suffering just as the Church completes the redemptive work of Christ…“Follow me!” Come! Take part through your suffering in this work of saving the world, a salvation achieved through my suffering! Through my Cross. Gradually, as the individual takes up his cross, spiritually uniting himself to the Cross of Christ, the salvific meaning of suffering is revealed before him. He does not discover this meaning at his own human level, but at the level of the suffering of Christ. At the same time, however, from this level of Christ the salvific meaning of suffering descends to man’s level and becomes, in a sense, the individual’s personal response. It is then that man finds in his suffering interior peace and even spiritual joy.”

Today we are invited to unite our suffering to Jesus’ redemptive suffering, to be transformed! We all have similar crosses to bear, no sports, no in-person birthday parties, no large barbecues, loss of income,  perhaps even not being able to mourn the loss of a loved one in a traditional way. During this hardship we each have an opportunity to suffer out of love for each other, fulfilling the second of the greatest commandments, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” As we take up our crosses and unite in prayer we follow Jesus as He instructed in Matthew 16:24, “…Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”

You are all in my prayers, as we suffer together and come ever closer to our Lord.

Christ’s peace,

Elizabeth Guevara de Gonzalez

Director of Adult Faith Formation

Archdiocese of New York

Prayer Resources

The following is a comprehensive and updated list of prayer resources in both English and Spanish:

FORMED.org has many resources for us to use, that include movies, audio-books, children materials, talks, etc.
As a reminder if your parish did not renew their Formed subscription this past Fall you can still access Formed content during this time of social distancing. Email us at Formed@archny.org to get connected.


Additional Resources during Social Distancing

  • Sunday Mass: a private Mass will be celebrated in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and will be available on many cable systems via the Catholic Faith Network and its website here, livestreamed on the Saint Patrick’s Cathedral website here, and broadcast on radio on The Catholic Channel of Sirius XM (Channel 129). Here is a link for an act of Spiritual Communion

Acts of Spiritual Communion

It has long been a Catholic understanding that when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an Act of Spiritual Communion, which is a source of grace. Spiritual Communion is an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament and lovingly embrace him at a time or in circumstances when one cannot receive Him in sacramental Communion. The most common reason for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when a person cannot attend Mass. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.

Spiritual Communion Prayer

My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.

I love you above all things and I desire to receive you in my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally,

Come at least spiritually into my heart.

I embrace you as if you were already there

And unite myself wholly to you. 

Never permit me to be separated from you.

Amen.


Resources for Families

Here are some resources on FORMED.org for families. 

Building Better Families 
https://watch.formed.org/building-better-families

Foundations
https://watch.formed.org/foundations

Me and My House
https://watch.formed.org/me-and-my-house

The Legends of Robin Hood
https://watch.formed.org/the-legends-of-robin-hood

The suitcase: a story about giving
https://watch.formed.org/videos/the-suitcase-a-story-about-giving-by-jane-meyer

Maria Goretti: The Story of the Patroness of Modern Youth https://watch.formed.org/maria-goretti-the-story-of-the-patroness-of-modern-youth

Prayer
https://watch.formed.org/videos/prayer

The Animated Bible Series: The Creation https://watch.formed.org/videos/the-animated-bible-series-the-creation

The Story of Saint Patrick 
https://watch.formed.org/videos/the-story-of-saint-patrick

La historian de San Patricio
https://watch.formed.org/videos/san-patricio

If you have trouble accessing FORMED contact us at formed@archny.org


Resources for virtual small groups

  • Magnificat is currently offering complimentary access to its at-home prayer resources (English | Spanish)
  • Daily Catholic Gospel is a free daily email resource providing reflections on the Gospel of the day (English, Spanish) (link)
  • Formed Catholic Online offers affordable online faith and discipleship courses are available at (English, Spanish) (link)
  • The University of Notre Dame offers a free virtual course designed to help deepen knowledge of and relationship with Scripture (link)
  • Our Sunday Visitor provides free online Sunday readings and questions of the week (link)
  • Adult virtual Bible study from Ascension Press occurs on Fridays at 7pm CST (link)
  • Catholic reading list for adults (link)
  • Daily three minute retreats from Loyola Press for adults (available in English and Spanish) (link)
  • Documentaries, TV shows, podcasts, and radio segments from Salt and Light Media that highlight stories and issues relevant to the Catholic community in the world today (link)
  • USCCB “Made for Love” podcast featuring stories of Catholics living out the call to love in their daily lives (link)

Feeling isolated? Consider getting online and praying together with your friends and family! Zoom is our current recommended way to do online ministry, but feel free to choose a platform of your choice. If you are unsure of how to use Zoom, check out the resources below.


Youth Faith Formation

Every Monday the Office of Youth Faith Formation will release a resource to support family catechesis, Family Faith at Home, https://archny.org/?page_id=19369


Young Adult Outreach

“CatholicNYC Presents” speaker series will go on Facebook Live through the CatholicNYC Facebook Page most nights from 7:30pm-8:15pm. https://www.facebook.com/CatholicNYC/


Your support is very important

Although public Masses may be suspended, our priests are responding to the current COVID-19 crisis through their ministry: celebrating daily Mass privately for all of your intentions and for all those affected by this virus, and praying for the health and safety of each of you and your families. Some of our pastors are even leading prayer services online.  Be assured of all of our prayers, and be sure to check out your parish website and this website for faith formation resources. Thank you to all of you who have been making donations to support your parish through WeShare online giving.  Your support is incredibly important since our parishes have not been able to hold Mass publicly and accept your donations in person.  If you would like to find out how to donate to your parish, contact your rectory office. We also encourage you to support the Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal which supports parishes in need, the youth and adult faith formation offices, the seminary, retired priests home, and is absolutely essential to our operations. If you would like to make a gift online, you can do so here, or you can call 646-794-3300 if you would like to make a gift by phone. Thank you!


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