Edward Sri, Augustine Institute theology professor and director of the Symbolon program, said it is intended to address “a fragmented understanding of the faith” common among many Catholics.
“We wanted to build a series that walks through the entirety of the Catholic faith in a way that would shape their lives,” he noted in a March 12 statement.
“They might know there are 12 apostles, ten commandments, seven sacraments and three persons of the Trinity, but how does it all fit together?”
The program aims to provide pastors and others with “authentic and engaging catechesis” as a resource for the New Evangelization.
The program includes video presentations with Augustine Institute professors such as Gray, as well as other speakers including Johnette Benkovic, Patrick Coffin, Teresa Tomeo, Jim Beckman, Leah Darrow, Sean Innerst, Curtis Martin and Father Leo Patalinghug.
Presentations were filmed in Rome, the Holy Land, and Calcutta and at the Denver-based Augustine Institute.
Tim Gray, the Augustine Institute’s president, said that Symbolon is gaining recognition as “one of the most powerful tools the lay faithful can use to educate others in the faith and evangelize.”
The series' first part, “Symbolon: Knowing the Faith” is now available for pre-order in a DVD box set format, ahead of a March 17 release date. Its ten episodes focus on Catholic beliefs such as the Trinity, redemption in Christ, the Church, the Bible, Mary and the Saints, creation, the fall and the Last Things.
The second part of the series, “Symbolon: Living the Faith,” will be released in fall 2014. It focuses on the encounter with God in the sacraments as well as the moral life.
The series is intended for individual use and for parish use in Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults programs, adult faith formation, men’s groups, women’s groups, family life ministry and catechist formation.
The series includes resource guides for leaders and participants.
The leader’s guide provides an outline for each session, opening and closing prayers, discussion questions, and practical application suggestions. It includes background material, additional resources and tips for leaders.
The participant’s guide provides space for note-taking and reflections on the content. It helps participants explore Catholic teachings in more detail at their own pace, the Augustine Institute said.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia has praised the Symbolon video series as “outstanding in every sense.”
“Beautifully produced, rich in content and pleasing to watch, Symbolon is not just a great adult tool for teaching and learning the Catholic faith, but a joy to experience.”
George Weigel, a Catholic commentator and scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., noted that recent Popes have called on every Catholic to be a “missionary disciple.” He said these Catholics must be “well-formed.”
“This splendid series will help prepare Catholics to enter mission territory every day, offering others friendship with Jesus Christ.”
Besides the video series, other parts of the Symbolon program include diocesan leadership training for RCIA and adult faith formation.
Sample video clips from the DVD and order information are available at the website www.SymbolonCatholic.org.
The Augustine Institute has released on DVD the first ten episodes of “Symbolon: The Catholic Faith Explained,” a formation program that comprehensively covers the Catholic faith.
Evangelization, RCIA, Augustine Institute