About

Join Bishop Barron and more than 18,200 evangelists from around the world

Bishop Barron has spoken about his dream of evolving Word on Fire from a ministry into a movement. The first step of that process is to form a community of evangelists who share the same mission and desire to proclaim Christ to the culture using beauty, goodness, and truth.

This was the primary motive behind the establishment of the Word on Fire Institute, an easy-to-use digital platform offering members specialized training, community discussions, live presentations, and more. The Institute launched on October 1, 2018—the feast day of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Word on Fire’s heavenly patroness.

Now, you can take courses in theology, philosophy, evangelization, and culture from Bishop Barron and the Word on Fire Institute Fellows on any of your devices.

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Courses

Faith & Science Summit

Join us for a multi-day conversation on the crossroads between faith and science.

Fellow Icon Jared Zimmerer

Evangelizing the Open-Minded

In this course, Dr. Matthew Nelson explains how to engage people who are confident in their nonbelief but willing to seriously consider reasons for believing in Christianity.

Fellow Icon Matt Nelson

Dante’s Catholic Imagination

Bishop Barron leads us on a journey through the life of Dante and his major work, The Divine Comedy, the great literary treasure dedicated to the Catholic Faith and the understanding of the dynamics of the Christian spiritual life.

Fellow Icon Bishop Robert Barron

The One Christ: Augustinian Deification

In this course, Dr. David Meconi SJ explores the history of deification, or theosis (i.e. becoming like God), in the Christian tradition, particularly focusing on St. Augustine’s understanding of deification.

Fellow Icon Fr. David Meconi, S.J.

Word on Fire Institute Orientation

Welcome to the Word on Fire Institute! This course will give you the basic knowledge necessary to navigate the site and interact with our community of evangelists. Scroll down to get started.

Fellow Icon Word on Fire Institute

Living the Liturgical Year in the Home

In her course, Haley Stewart unpacks the treasures of the Liturgical Year and explores how liturgical living can strengthen the Domestic Church or the life of faith in the family.

Fellow Icon Haley Stewart

Understanding the “Nones” and How to Reach Them

In this course, Dr. Stephen Bullivant walks through the demographics of the religiously unaffiliated and how the Church can better reach them.

Fellow Icon Dr. Stephen Bullivant
Man reading the Bible

The Five S’s of Effective Evangelization

In this course, Elizabeth Scalia walks us through the five S’s of effective evangelization: storytelling, Scripture, sacraments, saints, and small moments.

Fellow Icon Elizabeth Scalia

Prayer, Beauty, Mission: The Hidden Springs of the New Evangelization

In this course, Fr. Murray highlights and explains the spirituality of the downward path and the upward ascent to the new sacred. Each lesson develops the biblical truth that God loved us first and desires us to partake in the fullness of his divine life.

Fellow Icon Fr. Paul Murray, OP

Reading Scripture with the Early Church Fathers

In this course, Bishop Barron introduces the spiritual dynamics of Biblical exegesis in Origen and St. Augustine of Hippo.

Fellow Icon Bishop Robert Barron

From Books to Ballads: How Great Writers Form Wise Catholics

Dr. Tod Worner laments that his education was mostly lacking in reading classic literature. Only after obtaining his degree did Dr. Worner start to read the great books, and he came to realize the profound wisdom therein. In this course, Dr. Worner shares the wisdom he has learned from classic literature, and why all of us should read them.

Fellow Icon Tod Worner

Science for Evangelists

The narrative that science and Christianity are enemies is false. Not only are they not enemies but Christianity helped science develop beyond the limits imposed on it by ancient cosmologies. In this course, Dr. Trasancos introduces evangelists to the basics of science and why there is no conflict between science and Christianity.

Fellow Icon Dr. Stacy Trasancos

Re-enchanting the Secular

Secularism is the predominate worldview in the West. However, it does not answer the deepest longing of the human heart. In this course, Dr. Petrusek explains how Catholics can save Secularism from itself.

Fellow Icon Dr. Matthew Petrusek

The Evangelical Spirituality of Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton was one of the greatest spiritual writers of the last century. Despite his personal struggles, he inspired many people to seek holiness by applying the wisdom of monasticism to life outside the monastery. In this course, Jared Zimmerer explains Merton’s evangelical spirituality and stresses its significance today.

Fellow Icon Jared Zimmerer

Happiness and the Meaning of Life

In this course, Dr. Jennifer Frey teaches us about what true happiness is and how morality and virtue play a part in achieving it. Referring to Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, and modern figures like Elizabeth Anscombe, Dr. Frey demonstrates the link between morality and the meaning of life. All people seek meaning in life and as evangelists, we must be able to discuss the depth of this universal question.

Fellow Icon Dr. Jennifer Frey

The People You Will Meet

Knowing your audience is very important in effective evangelization. In this course, Fr. Stephen Gadberry distinguishes the different types of people you will likely meet, including: the religiously hostile, the fallen-away Catholic, the spiritual but not religious, and the modern-day scribe and Pharisee. His advice is based on years of experience as a Catholic priest engaging people about the faith. In this course, Fr. Gadberry illustrates how to engage the people we are bound to meet in the culture and how to effectively attract them towards Jesus Christ.

Fellow Icon Fr. Stephen Gadberry
Saint John Henry Newman

John Henry Newman: The Greatest Catholic Theologian Since Aquinas

In this course, Bishop Barron will examine Newman’s many theological contributions, which are important in understanding Vatican II and in addressing the challenge of modernity. You’ll be introduced to Newman by looking at his most significant texts: his autobiography Apologia Pro Vita Sua, the theologically meaningful Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, the educationally pertinent The Idea of a University, and the challenging An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent.

Fellow Icon Bishop Robert Barron

Christian Community as Leaven for the World

In this course Christian Community as Leaven for the World, Leah Libresco will explore how to build up Christian community through simple acts of love and friendship, showing why community is so important to the Christian life.

Fellow Icon Leah Libresco

Seven Myths About the Catholic Church

There are many myths about the Catholic Church that are popular in today’s culture. In the following course, Dr. Christopher Kaczor highlights the big seven myths, distinguishing fact from fiction about Catholicism. This course will help you better address many controversial topics from contraception to women and the priesthood.

Fellow Icon Dr. Christopher Kaczor
Open Book with Glasses

How Nones Can Misread the Bible

Catholics believe along with St. Paul that the Bible is “God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). But with the growing number of religiously unaffiliated people in the world, our culture’s understanding of the Bible and its contents is more lacking and skewed than perhaps ever before.

In this course, Notre Dame professor of Sacred Scripture, Anthony Pagliarini, teaches us how to read the Bible ourselves and become better evangelists of an increasingly religiously unaffiliated culture in the process.

Fellow Icon Dr. Anthony Pagliarini
Word on Fire Digital Summit Logo

2019 Digital Summit

Fellow Icon Jared Zimmerer

Imaginative Apologetics

How do we share the Faith in a culture where many people don’t understand what we mean by words like ‘sin’ or ‘salvation’ – and where the media constantly bombards us with the idea that the teachings of the Church are irrelevant, outdated, or bigoted?

All too often, people aren’t even interested in hearing about the Faith! Especially when we seek to reach young people or bring back those who have left the Church, we must find ways to communicate more effectively – in short, to make our arguments meaningful. Here, the imagination is essential but often neglected.

In this course, Dr. Holly Ordway focuses on the role of the imagination in apologetics, showing how attention to language and meaning can make the work of catechesis and evangelization much more effective.

Fellow Icon Dr. Holly Ordway
Crowd crossing the street

To the Peripheries!

In this course, Fr. Damian Ference will take us through numerous examples from the Gospels, his own life, and the philosophy of several saints on ways in which we evangelize. Each of these examples are modeled on the life of Christ. 

There might be times in which we think of the task of evangelization and feel overwhelmed. Perhaps we aren’t quite sure where to connect with people. Perhaps we’re worried that we might say or do the wrong thing. Sometimes, we might even think that the culture is too far gone for us to find a place to start. 

In the following lessons, listen in as Fr. Damian Ference covers how it is that Christ evangelizes and how many of the best moments in the Gospels apply both to our own spiritual lives, as well as our evangelical mission. 

Fellow Icon Fr. Damian Ference
People against a wall on their phones

Reaching the Indifferent

“Man no longer wishes to reflect on his relationship with God because he himself intends to become God,” assessed Robert Cardinal Sarah in his acclaimed book God or Nothing. Indeed, in this hyper-individualistic age characterized by spreading religious disaffiliation and relativism, his diagnosis seems spot on. 

How do you evangelize someone who doesn’t care to take religion seriously in the first place? The aim of this course is to provide you with intellectual ammo and practical strategies that will help you to successfully evangelize the spiritually indifferent. 

Fellow Icon Matt Nelson
Hans Von Balthasar

Theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar

Hans Urs von Balthasar was one of the greatest Catholic theologians of the twentieth century. Henri de Lubac called him the “most cultured man in Europe.” The thought of this highly prolific intellectual was unique, profound, orthodox, and, through and through, Christocentric.

You might be wondering, why start with a course on Hans Urs von Balthasar? Balthasar has been a major influence on the way in which Bishop Barron expresses the faith, and this style of expression has been incredibly effective at reaching those outside of the Church. The way in which we express the faith can have a serious impact on the listener, and Balthasar is a fundamental theologian for our modern times. 

In this 12-lesson course, Bishop Barron introduces us to several of the fundamental themes encapsulated in the theological work of Hans Urs von Balthasar.

Fellow Icon Bishop Robert Barron
Students around a table

8 Principles of Word on Fire

In this course, you will learn the animating principles of the Word on Fire movement and the guiding lights of the Word on Fire Institute. These principles stem from the years of Bishop Robert Barron’s evangelical work and have been recognized as the foundational pillars of our spirituality of evangelization.

Each of the principles reflects an integral aspect of the life of a Word on Fire evangelist.

Fellow Icon Jared Zimmerer
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The Journal

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Evangelization & Culture, the Journal of

the Word on Fire Institute, is published

quarterly and offered exclusively to Word

on Fire Institute Members. It exists to be

a tangible representation of the Word on

Fire Institute’s mission and goal: to lead

with beauty in order to bring others to the

knowledge of truth. It features academic

writing from premier theologians and

inspiring bits of literature, culture, and

daily life from fellow missionaries on the

journey to know and serve Christ.

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Podcasts

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The Word on Fire Institute publishes two podcasts to aid you in your mission of evangelization--during your morning commute, while the kids are napping, or when you simply need to revive your zeal for engaging the culture.

Subscribe to listen to The John Allen Show and the new Evangelization & Culture Show podcasts today.

Fellows

Bishop Robert Barron

Bishop Robert Barron is the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He is also the host of CATHOLICISM, a groundbreaking, award-winning documentary about the Catholic faith, which aired on public television. Bishop Barron is a #1 Amazon bestselling author and has published numerous books, essays, and articles on theology and the spiritual life. He is a religion correspondent for NBC and has also appeared on FOX News, CNN, and EWTN. Bishop Barron's website, WordOnFire.org, reaches millions of people each year, and he is one of the world's most followed Catholics on social media. His regular YouTube videos have been viewed over 25 million times and he has over 1.5 million followers on Facebook.

Jared Zimmerer

Jared Zimmerer is the Director of the Word on Fire Institute. He holds a Master’s Degree in Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary and is currently a doctoral student in Humanities from Faulkner University. He and his wife Jessica live in North Texas with their six children. He is an author, speaker, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology.

Matt Nelson

Matthew Nelson is an apologist at the Word on Fire Institute. He holds a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and is currently pursuing an M.A. in philosophy from Holy Apostles College and Seminary. He is the author of "Just Whatever: How to Help the Spiritually Indifferent Find Beliefs That Really Matter" (Catholic Answers Press, 2018) and editor of the forthcoming volume "The New Apologetics" (Word on Fire Institute, 2022). He is also a Scholar Associate with the Society of Catholic Scientists.

Elizabeth Scalia

Elizabeth Scalia is a Benedictine Oblate and author of several books including the award-winning Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life (Ave Maria Press) and Little Sins Mean a Lot (OSV). Before joining the Word on Fire team as a Editor at Large, she served as Editor-in-Chief of the English edition of Aleteia, and as Managing Editor of the Catholic section of Patheos.com. Elizabeth also blogs as “The Anchoress” at http://www.theanchoress.com. She is married, and living on Long Island.

Dr. Holly Ordway

Dr. Holly Ordway is Fellow of Faith and Culture at the Word on Fire Institute; she holds a PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the author of Tolkien’s Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages (forthcoming January 2021, Word on Fire Academic), Apologetics and the Christian Imagination: An Integrated Approach to Defending the Faith (Emmaus Road, 2017) and Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms (Ignatius, 2014). Dr. Ordway is also Visiting Professor of Apologetics at Houston Baptist University, and a Subject Editor for the Journal of Inklings Studies, and a published poet. Her academic work focuses on imaginative apologetics and the writings of the Inklings, especially C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Robert Mixa

Robert Mixa is the Educational Fellow at the Word on Fire Institute. He holds a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute at CUA and a BA in Philosophy from Saint Louis University. Prior to working at the Institute, he taught theology and philosophy at Carmel Catholic High School. Robert has been a part of the Word on Fire community for many years. His passion is to contribute to the renewal of Catholic education and share the rich intellectual and spiritual tradition of the Church.

Haley Stewart

Wife to a whisky-maker/beekeeper, mother of four (ages 2-12), living in central Texas. Fellow of the Word on Fire Institute Podcaster (Fountains of Carrots) Author (The Grace of Enough: Pursuing Less and Living More in a Throwaway Culture) Neglectful Blogger (CarrotsforMichaelmas.com)

Joe Zambon

Joe Zambon is the St. Thérèse of Lisieux Fellow for Word on Fire Communities.  He is a Canadian, proud husband and father, and a folksy singer-songwriter. He earned a BA in Theology from Dominican College and served for 8 years as a Campus Minister at York University in Toronto before moving down to Dallas Texas.

Tod Worner

Tod Worner is a husband, father, Catholic convert & practicing internal medicine physician. He is also the Managing Editor for the Word on Fire Institute Journal Evangelization and Culture. His blog, “Catholic Thinking”, is found at Aleteia.com. He also writes for Patheos (“A Catholic Thinker”) and the National Catholic Register. Follow him on Twitter @thinkercatholic.

Fr. Damian Ference

Fr. Damian Ference is a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland. He graduated from Borromeo Seminary/John Carroll University in 1998, and after earning his M.A. and M.Div. from Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology he was ordained for the diocese of Cleveland in 2003. He served as parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish in Hudson, Ohio from 2003-2007. In 2009 he earned his licentiate in philosophy from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Ference has been part of the formation faculty at Borromeo Seminary since 2009. He has served at Borromeo Seminary in Wickliffe, Ohio as Director of Human Formation and Assistant Professor of Philosophy, and is currently a doctoral student in philosophy at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome, Italy. Father Ference has published articles in a wide variety of periodicals and regularly preaches retreats and parish missions. He is the founder and director of {TOLLE LEGE} Summer Institute and is a lifetime member of the Flannery O’Connor Society.

Dr. Anthony Pagliarini

Dr. Anthony Pagliarini earned Theology and Philosophy degrees from Notre Dame, the Angelicum in Rome, and the International Theological Institute in Austria. Anthony and his wife Katie live in South Bend, Indiana with their four children. They teach in the Department of Theology at Notre Dame.

Dr. Christopher Kaczor

Dr. Christopher Kaczor is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He holds a PhD (1996) from the University of Notre Dame. He has authored several books and his research has been featured in The Wall Street JournalHuffington PostNational Review, NPR, BBC, EWTN, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, and The Today Show.

Dr. Matthew Petrusek

Dr. Matthew Petrusek received an MA (Yale University) and PhD (University of Chicago) in religious ethics and is currently associate professor of theology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He specializes in Christian ethics, though lectures broadly, in English and Spanish, on philosophy, theology, and the Catholic intellectual tradition. In addition to serving as a WOFI fellow, he is host of the show Reasons to Believe at WordNet TV, co-author of Two Rules for Life: A Christian Response to Jordan Peterson (under contract with WOFI Press), co-editor of Value and Vulnerability: Contemporary Interfaith Dialogue on Human Dignity (University of Notre Dame Press), and has published in numerous academic journals. He lives with his wife and children in the Inland Empire in Southern California.

Fr. Stephen Gadberry

Fr. Stephen Gadberry is a native of Wynne, Arkansas and a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Little Rock, ordained on May 28, 2016. When not preaching at the pulpit, you can find him exercising, spending time outdoors, coaching a CrossFit class or playing with his dogs, Murph and Shorty. He was featured on Episode 1 of season 10 of America Ninja Warrior in 2018. To relax his soul, he enjoys listening to music, as well as making music on the piano, guitar and harmonica. In addition to his duties as pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Batesville, he serves as pastor of St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Newport, AR. Father Stephen is also a veteran of the United States Air Force.

Dr. Jennifer Frey

Dr. Jennifer Frey is currently an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina. Previously, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago. She earned her PhD in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. She is also a wife and mother of six.

Dr. Stacy Trasancos

Dr. Stacy A. Trasancos is a convert to Catholicism and an internationally-recognized author, speaker, and educator on the topic of theology and science. She has a PhD in chemistry and an MA in dogmatic theology. She is a teaching fellow for Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Institute and regularly appears on Catholic Answers Live to answer questions about faith and science. She is the author of three books: Particles of Faith, Science Was Born of Christianity, and 20 Answers: Bioethics. Her work was featured in Forbes, and she has written numerous articles for publications such as National Catholic Register, St. Austin’s Review, and Catholic World Report. She appears frequently on Catholic radio and podcasts. Dr. Trasancos teaches online theology courses for Seton Hall University’s Catholic Studies program. She and her family moved from the Adirondacks of upstate New York to East Texas last year–a coming home to her birthplace. Now she is the Executive Director for the St. Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization founded by Bishop Joseph Strickland in the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. She is a mother of seven and wife to her dear husband, Jose. They enjoy their life together in Hideaway, Texas.

Leah Libresco

Leah Libresco has worked as a statistics professor, a data journalist, and a Bayesian probability instructor. She grew up as an atheist and converted to Catholicism while studying at Yale. Through various relationships and reading the likes of Lewis and Chesterton, Leah began to learn more and more about the Catholic faith and was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012. Her conversion unfolded through her popular blog, Unequally Yoked, and was also covered by various media outlets including CNN, NBC News, and TheBlaze. Leah is the author of two books, Arriving at Amen (Ave Maria Press, 2015) and Building the Benedict Option (Ignatius Press, 2018). She continues to write about faith, philosophy, math, and musical theatre on her blog, and her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, First Things, The Weekly Standard, The American Interest, The American Conservative, America, Fare Forward, and many other outlets. Leah and her husband, Alexi, live in New York City.

Dr. Stephen Bullivant

Dr. Stephen Bullivant is a Fellow of the Word on Fire Institute. He is also Professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion, and Director of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society at St. Mary's University, UK. He holds doctorates in Theology (Oxford, 2009) and Sociology (Warwick, 2019). He joined St. Mary’s in 2009, having previously held posts at Heythrop College, London, and Wolfson College, Oxford. Professor Bullivant has also held a visiting fellowship at the Institute for Social Change (University of Manchester), Blackfriars Hall (University of Oxford), and the Institute for Advanced Studies (University College London).

Fr. Paul Murray, OP

Paul Murray, OP, an Irish Dominican friar, lives in Rome where he teaches courses at the Angelicum University on the literature of the Western mystical tradition. He is a Fellow of the Word on Fire Institute and has published many books, including Scars: Essays, Poems, and Meditations on Affliction; Aquinas at Prayer: The Bible, Mysticism, and Poetry; and God's Spies: Michelangelo, Shakespeare, and Other Poets of Vision.

Bobby Angel

Bobby Angel is the Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger Fellow of Parish Life and Renewal at the Word on Fire Institute. He worked for eight years as a high school campus minister and theology teacher and is the author of Pray, Decide, And Don't Worry and Forever: A Catholic Devotional for Your Marriage. Bobby holds a Masters in Theology from the Augustine Institute and a Bachelors in Philosophy from St. John Vianney College Seminary.

Richard DeClue

Dr. Richard DeClue is the Cardinal Henri de Lubac Fellow in Theology. He is a graduate of The Catholic University of America where he earned his Doctor of Sacred Theology degree in Systematic Theology. Richard has published articles in peer-reviewed academic journals, including Communio and Nova et Vetera. He has taught at Belmont Abbey College and The Catholic University of America, and has certificates in Professional Teaching Knowledge and General Science through the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence. His primary areas of interest include Ecclesiology, Theology of Revelation, Communio Theology, and Scholasticism.

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FAQs

Do you have scholarships/discounts for the institute?

We are currently working on a scholarship program for consecrated and ordained religious.

Can I share my Institute membership with others?

The Word on Fire Institute is designed for individual training, so you cannot share your login credentials with other people, share the videos online, or show the videos in a group setting.

How do I change/update my credit card for Institute payments?

You can update it on the “My Account” page. Just look for the big orange “Update Card” button.

Is there an app I can use on mobile for the Institute?

We do not currently have an app.

Can the Institute be used within my parish?

The Word on Fire Institute is meant for individual instruction. For parishes, Word on Fire offers the Word on Fire ENGAGE program. Email [email protected] for more info!

Is this a donation?

No, this is the purchase of a product/service.

Can I get a yearly Institute membership instead of monthly?

We only offer a monthly subscription.

When will I be charged for the Word on Fire Institute?

For the month of October, we are offering a 30-Day Free Trial. Your card will not be charged until after your 30-Day Free Trial is completed. After 30 days, your card will be charged $27/month. The charges will continue on that same date for each subsequent month of membership. There are no contracts and you may cancel at any time by simply calling or emailing customer support.

Do I have to pay by credit card for Institute membership?

Yes, payments for membership in the Word on Fire Institute must be made by credit card.

My Institute account was canceled. How can I restart?

Unfortunately, there is no way to restart an account, so it must be recreated with the updating payment information.

How do I cancel my Institute membership?

Please email [email protected] letting us know you’d like to cancel your account.