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Adult Faith Formation

Catechesis: Growing in Knowledge (The Sacraments and Beyond)

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Three Ways of Handing on the Faith:
1. Scripture (Bible Study)

Scripture Study, also referred to as Bible Study, one of the three ways of handing on the faith, is an important tool for deepening your knowledge and understanding of God. The Bible is God's Living Word. Its timeless nature reveals who God is from "the Beginning" through eternity. Whether you are new to reading Scripture or have studied it most of your life, you will find opportunities through St. John's Bible Studies to learn more about Christ, to deepen your faith, knowledge and understanding of God and His Word, how to pray with Scripture, to understand how Catholic Christianity is based on God's Word, and to live your faith in your daily life.

St. John's AFF (Adult Faith Formation) Program is blessed with great resources to help map your journey. One of St. John's resources is FORMED, an online digital platform. Our AFF Library also holds great resource material, namely books and videos with leaders guides, for large and small groups to use as tools to form a strong foundation of Scripture knowledge and to build upon it.

Announcements of upcoming studies may be found in the parish bulletin, or call the Religious Ed Office 717-235-2439 to learn more or to inquire about becoming a small group leader.


Three Ways of Handing on the Faith:

2. Tradition with a Capital"T" Studies

Tradition with a capital "T," also known as Apostolic Tradition, is also one of the three ways of handing on the faith, from its original oral transmission by the twelve Apostles at the time of Christ living among us down through two millennia through bishops, the successors of the Apostles. Tradition includes oral and written apostolic preaching whose living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, "leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness"(CCC 79). Essentially, it is the writings of bishops, Church doctrine, and teachings of popes and doctors of the Church which give life to Christ's Bride, the Church, the faithful, and calls them to respond in practical expression of the Divine Bridegroom in the Gospel.

Studies on the Mass, the Eucharist, encyclicals (teachings of popes and bishops, e.g. St. John Paul II and contemporary Bishop Robert Barron), virtues, living out the faith through corporal and spiritual works of mercy, the Catechism, and more are offered from time to time.

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Three Ways of Handing on the Faith:

3. Magisterium Studies

The Magisterium, the servant of the Word of God, is the living teaching office of the Church and is entrusted with handing on only what it has received through its predecessors who originated with the apostle Peter, the first pope. The Magisterium is one of the three ways of handing on the faith through the oral and written forms of the Word of God. These studies are presented from time to time by our priests and clergy and will be announced at Mass and in the bulletin.

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Books of the Bible

St. John's continues to offer studies on specific books of the Bible including Exodus, the Psalms, Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, Epistles of Paul, James, and John, the Book of Revelation, and The Great Adventure Bible Studies which includes 14 books of the Bible that make up the narrative thread of Salvation History. Studies are also available through FORMED.


Topical Studies

Church History, Mary and the Saints, the Mass, Theology of the Body, Forgiveness, the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit, Lectio Divina, Virtues, Marriage, Morals and Ethics, and more. Studies are also available as videos, in downloadable eBooks and Bible study workbooks, or informative and inspirational podcasts through FORMED.

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Topical Studies: Divine Mercy

HAPP (Hearts Afire Parish-based Program)

HAPP, the Hearts Afire Parish-based Program for the New Evangelization, is an updated approach designed to help us live our complete Catholic life of faith, charity, and the sacraments. The program has three stages:

1. Consecration to Jesus through Mary, and Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

2. Wisdom and Works of Mercy

3. Keeping the Hearts Afire through the Apostolates (service groups) and Cenacles (prayer groups)

Sample clips 

St. John's offers the 33 Days to Morning Glory Retreat for Marian Consecration to Jesus one to two times per year. Announcements of upcoming 33 Days to Morning Glory and other HAPP retreats may be found in the parish bulletin or call the Religious Ed Office 717-235-2439 to learn more.

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Topical Studies: Works of Mercy

As mentioned above, Stage 2, Part 2 of HAPP is Works of Mercy. The fruit of teachings of the previous retreat stages is living out the devotion to Divine Mercy. Works of Mercy will inspire retreatants to carry out the message of Divine Mercy in their lives in thought, words, deeds, and prayer. Opportunities at St. John's and in the community may be found on these pages within our Parish Website: Pastoral/Spiritual Ministries and Social/Community Building.

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Mary and the Saints

HAPP (above) includes a devotion to Mary with examples from four Marian saints to live your life in Jesus with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Additionally, studies by Dr. Edward Sri, Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Brant Pitre and more are available through St. John's AFF library, FORMED, and podcasts through Breadbox Media.


Mary and the Saints: HAPP

See the description for the HAPP Marian retreat studies in Topical Studies - Divine Mercy, above.

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Adult Faith Parish Programs & Resources

Programs offered by St. John's Adult Faith Formation have been like a welcoming home for generations. In the past several years we have hosted Little Rock Scripture Studies, Great Adventure Bible Studies, HAPP (Hearts Afire Parish-based Program) retreats, Marian and Shrine pilgrimages, prayer and worship events, and wherever the Holy Spirit leads. We are a caring family of believers and welcome you join our family by attending or trying on as many of the programs as you like.

Reading or subscribing to daily Catholic Devotionals is a great way to supplement your faith journey. You may consider these publications:

St. John's is looking into offering Alpha, a program to help us better understand, know, and share our faith. More information will be available in 2021.

Resources are available if you are interested in hosting a Bible or Faith study at your home or arrangements may be considered to lead a study at St. John's beautiful campus. Contact the Religious Ed Office for more information.

Family Fun

Bible Study & Catechesis for Families

Grow in the Word as a family! The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 2204-2205 says,

2204 "The Christian family... should be called a domestic church." It is a community of faith, hope, and charity, as is evident in the New Testament.

2205 The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father's work of creation. It [The family] is called to partake of the prayer and sacrifice of Christ. Daily prayer and the reading of the Word of God strengthen it [the family] in charity. The Christian family has an evangelizing and missionary task."

Resources and Ideas to enjoy growing in God's Word and charity as a family:

  • Read a family Bible or age-appropriate children's Bible together.

  • Consider popular Bible translations consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Faith.

    • New American Bible Revised Edition - Catholic Edition (NABRE-CE)

    • Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition (RSV-CE)

    • Jerusalem Bible (JB)

  • Play a Bible version of these popular games: "Apples to Apples," "Scattergories," "Pictionary," or make your own: "Twenty Questions," "Hangman", "Concentration," and more.

  • On-the Go Family Game apps

  • When you play games, let the players know this is special family time by praying to play honestly and fairly, building up one another and growing together.

  • "Catechesis Books to nourish blossoming souls" is a book series by Danielle Hitchen that is ideal for new parents. They make great gifts, too. The "Baby Believer Book Series" will provide lots of guidance for young parents who want to build a foundation on Jesus Christ.

  • The Great Adventure Kids Pack

  • Visit the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC

  • Storytime at the Museum of the Bible - free - using live actors, Scripture-inspired scenery and props, sit down with your family and enjoy watching the Bible come to life anytime. 

Online Resources:

  • EWTN Article - Teaching the Faith Effectively

  • FORMED - access videos, movies, kids shows, stories and more! It's FREE!

  • Catholic Family Support: Dr. Gregory Popcak, co-host of the podcast More2Life with his wife Lisa, is the Executive Director of the Pastoral Solutions Institute. This organization is dedicated to helping Catholics find faith-filled solutions to tough marriage, family, and personal problems. For tools when you are stuck, be sure to check out their radio show, parenting books, and counseling services.

  • Seven Day Virtual Marriage Retreats will enrich your marriage as you set aside some time for prayer, short daily reading and reflection, and learn ways to strengthen your marriage. The retreat can be done independently or with your spouse.

HAPP Divine Mercy
Works of Mercy
Programs & Resources
Topical Studies
Mary & the Saints

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Bible Study for Families

Religious Education Department

Sr. Jane Keller, Director -

Mrs. Belinda Siperko, Admin. Assistant -

315-A N. Constitution Ave (inside St. John's School)

New Freedom, PA 17349



M-F 10:00am - 4:30pm and during all Religious Ed classes

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