Major Grant From Our Sunday Visitor to Fund Online Adult Faith Formation Program
Franciscan University of Steubenville to provide online workshops on a wide range of catechetical and pro-life topics.
October 06, 2016

STEUBENVILLE, OH—A $40,000 grant from Our Sunday Visitor will enable Franciscan University’s newly formed Catechetical Institute to develop online workshops aimed to “form those who form others” in the Catholic faith.

The project includes a set of 10 online formation tracks that will be gradually released starting in the spring of 2017.

Enriching the long-standing annual St. John Bosco Catechetical Conference experience at Franciscan University, the tracks will support parish ministers including priests, youth ministers, adult leaders, DRE’s, and parents—all identified by Our Sunday Visitor as “special areas of concern” for ongoing faith formation. The workshops will also provide ongoing formation opportunities for diocesan respect life personnel and those working at crisis pregnancy centers and other pro-life apostolates.

Ultimately, the workshops are for “anyone currently seeking to pass the faith to others, as well as those seeking to enrich their own faith life,” said Dr. Petroc Willey, director of Franciscan University’s Catechetical Institute. “We especially want parents to have the confidence and knowledge to fulfill their role as their children’s first evangelists.”

The online workshops span the realm of traditional catechetical content—from Scripture to prayer to doctrine. Workshops will also be offered in bioethics, theology of the body, and related pro-life topics.

The first offering—the Catechist Track—will cover the foundations of catechetics and of the Church, Scripture, methods of teaching catechetics, philosophy, prayer, and Church doctrine.

Recognizing the challenges of making online training inspiring, the Catechetical Institute is creating workshops that include a mentoring focus, with a priority on the spiritual formation of learners and formation that intentionally builds relationships in a learner’s own community.

In addition to mature and engaging assessment methods, there is a full integration of catechesis with evangelization and liturgical formation as well as a flexible approach that allows dioceses partnering with the Catechetical Institute to select any of the workshops to add to their existing certification programs or continuing education requirements.

Workshops will be delivered by Franciscan University theology and catechetics faculty members and by Catechetical Institute field-based presenters involved in the Church’s mission of evangelization and catechesis. Franciscan University biology professors Dr. Dan Kuebler and Dr. Derek Doroski will lead some of the elective workshops on faith and science topics.

Kuebler said the project will “create an important link between science and faith on critical pro-life issues,” and will provide participants with ongoing formation without having to uproot their lives to obtain a formal degree.

The first 44 workshops in the catechist track will be launched in spring 2017. A workshop fee will help defray expenses not covered by the Our Sunday Visitor grant. Direct access to the workshops will be through a website that will be launched in spring 2017.

For more information, contact Bill Keimig, assistant director of the Franciscan University Catechetical Institute, at 740-283-6754 or

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