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.Join Now
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. His advice is based on years of experience as a Catholic priest engaging people about the faith. This course will give you the practical skills to more effectively evangelize today’s world.
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.
John Henry Newman:
The Greatest Catholic Theologian Since Aquinas
In this 12-part course, Bishop Barron examines Newman’s many theological contributions, which are important in understanding Vatican II and in addressing the challenge of modernity. Participants will 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.
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.
The 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.
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.
Digital Summit 2019:
Evangelizing the Unaffiliated
Jared Zimmerer and Dr. Matt Nelson kicked off the first-ever Word on Fire Institute Digital Summit with a discussion about the mission of the Institute and their favorite moments and takeaways from the interviews.
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?
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.
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.
Christian Community as Leaven for the World
Why is community so important to Christian life and evangelization? What are some practical ways we can increase fellowship among our own neighborhoods and parishes?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jared Zimmerer is the Senior Director of the Word on Fire Institute and holds a Master’s Degree in Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary. He is an author, speaker, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, with a passion for the sports and fitness culture. He has written two books, The Ten Commandments of Lifting Weights and Man Up! Becoming the New Catholic Renaissance Man.
Dr. Holly Ordway
Dr. Holly Ordway is the Cardinal Francis George Fellow of Faith and Culture at the Word on Fire Institute, and Visiting Professor of Apologetics at Houston Baptist University. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is the author of Tolkien’s Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages (Word on Fire Academic, 2021). Her other work includes Apologetics and the Christian Imagination: An Integrated Approach to Defending the Faith (Emmaus Road, 2017), Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms (Ignatius, 2014), and numerous chapters and articles on imaginative apologetics, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Inklings. She is also a Subject Editor for the Journal of Inklings Studies and a published poet.
Dr. Matt Nelson
Dr. Matt Nelson is a writer, speaker, and apologist. He holds a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto. He is currently pursuing a MA in philosophy from Holy Apostles College and Seminary. He has been a regular contributor to the Catholic Answers Online Magazine, Strange Notions, and the Word on Fire Blog.
Robert Mixa is the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Fellow for Catholic Education at the Word on Fire Institute. He earned a BA in Philosophy from Saint Louis University and a Masters in Theological Studies from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Prior to joining the Word on Fire Institute, he taught high school philosophy and theology near Chicago.
Andrew Petiprin is the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen Fellow of Popular Culture at the Word on Fire Institute. He is an author and former Anglican cleric who came into full communion with the Catholic Church on January 1, 2019. He earned an M.Div. from Yale University and an M.Phil from Oxford University.
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.
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.
Dr. 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.
Leah Libresco grew up as an atheist and converted to Catholicism in 2012 while at Yale. Her conversion unfolded through her popular blog, Unequally Yoked, and was also covered by various media outlets including CNN, NBC News, and The Blaze.
Fr. Stephen Gadberry
Fr. Stephen Gadberry is an Air Force veteran where he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007. He studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he specialized in both the Theology and Spirituality of Saint Augustine and of Joseph Ratzinger. He has appeared on the hit television show American Ninja Warrior.
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.
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. 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 Journal, Huffington Post, National Review, NPR, BBC, EWTN, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, and The Today Show.
Dr. Stacy Trasancos
Dr. Stacy Trasancos teaches chemistry and physics for Kolbe Academy and theology and science courses for Holy Apostles and Seton Hall University. She is the author of Science Was Born of Christianity: The Teaching of Fr. Stanley L. Jaki and Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science.
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).
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 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 www.theanchoress.com. She is married, and living on Long Island.
Fr. Damian Ference
Fr. Damian Ference is a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland. He holds degrees in Divinity and Philosophy from the Borromeo Seminary/John Carroll University, Saint Mary Seminary, and the Catholic University of America. He is currently a doctoral student in philosophy at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome, Italy.
Dr. Tod Worner
Dr. Tod Worner is a husband, father, Catholic, convert, and practicing internal medicine physician. He is the Managing Editor of the Word on Fire Institute Journal, Evangelization & Culture. His blog Catholic Thinking is found at Aleteia. He also writes for Patheos and the National Catholic Register. Follow him on Twitter @thinkercatholic.
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.
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.
John Allen Jr.
John Allen Jr. is the St. Francis de Sales Fellow for Communication and Media for the Word on Fire Institute. He is the editor of Crux, a leading Catholic news source specializing in coverage of the Vatican and the Catholic Church. He has written eleven books on the Vatican and Catholic affairs and is a popular speaker on Catholicism. He is also a senior Vatican analyst for CNN.
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