I've been a fan of Father Barron's ever since reading his book Catholicism (my review here) and then getting to watch the DVDseries it was written to accompany. He's personable, reasonable, relatable, and communicates joyful faith. Anyone who has seen him on YouTube already knows that but since that's not where I hang out, I was pleased to encounter such a "normal" Catholic. As a more important litmus test, my husband is a big fan and that's not an easy accomplishment where religious broadcasting is concerned.
I was really surprised when I picked up the mail yesterday and found Father Barron's Catholicism: The New Evangelization dvds and study guide (written by Brandon Vogt, who I have met and respect a great deal). I never get review items like this so it was a wonderful treat.
We didn't wait, but watched the main dvd last night.
What's it about? The dvd package puts it best of all, I find.
CATHOLICISM taught us what the Church believes and why.The main message is documentary style and takes us through evangelization in the recent past after Vatican II and today with emphasis on ministries by lay people. Father Barron discusses not only major objections to the Church but movements and individuals who answer those objections through both traditional and new methods (such as new media).
CATHOLICISM: The New Evangelization shows us how to put our faith into action.
I would say the one thing gap I noticed was that Father Barron tended to focus on ministry begun to "tell people about Christ or the Church" especially within the context of using new media. This is very understandable because it is where he himself is focused. It is too bad that they didn't find a few lay people who found themselves caught up in ministries simply because their joy couldn't be contained and the Catholicism was part of the whole package. It is a quibble, I realize, but there you go. It is how I fall into ministries myself and so I felt that area was left unaddressed.
I came away from this viewing feeling inspired. Joyful. Part of something bigger than I am.
And that was exactly what I needed that very evening. (No coincidences, as I said.) It allowed me to completely take my mind off of my own frustrations and recall that any ministry I am involved in is because I encountered Christ there ... because I felt such joy and surprise and ... yes ... love that I couldn't wait for others to experience it too.
The New Evangelization imbued me with that feeling once again.
It comes with a study book suitable for individuals or parish use. I haven't read the entire thing, but I continually caught myself reading on where I meant to skim. Brandon Vogt's style is engaging, compelling, and nicely complements Father Barron's dvd. The other dvds have additional interviews and materials for a study or formation program.
I'm going to give this to our priest and ask where he may need help in our parish with any new evangelization seeds that it plants. (As Tom points out, our parish is pretty active, but you never can tell where the need is not being met.)