The diocesan Faith at Home resource is transitioning to a monthly column. Courtesy photo
The diocesan Faith at Home resource is transitioning to a monthly column. Courtesy photo
" We decided that a column could give families and couples concrete ways to increase practice of the faith in their homes, and how to evangelize. "

When COVID-19 hit hard mid-March of 2020, and church doors had to close, the Diocese of Trenton’s Departments of Catechesis, Evangelization and Family Life, and Youth and Young Adult Ministry moved quickly to provide a resource for the faithful to remain connected to the Church.

“Our launch during Holy Week 2020 focused on preparing for the liturgy at home and encouraging people to watch the Mass online,” said Denise Contino, director of the Department of Catechesis.

Called Faith at Home, the weekly resource allowed Catholics of the Diocese a means to practice their faith when attending Mass in person was not an option. “Each week we would break open the Readings and provide discussion questions,” she continued. “Even then, not all parishes were equipped with the ability to livestream a virtual Mass, so Faith at Home was all they had. We also linked them to other places to watch Mass online.”

The tools produced for the past year and a half are still available on the Diocese's website, https://dioceseoftrenton.org/faith-at-home.

Josue Arriola, director of the Department of Evangelization and Family Life, added, “The secular world picks up on Christmas, and you see it everywhere – but with Holy Week it’s nothing like that.

“We wanted to prepare families so they could be ready. Many were not used to being together for weeks, and we needed to have something out there to help them grow in their faith and relationships – couples and families both,” he said.

Since churches have reopened and use of the Faith at Home online resource has waned, Faith at Home will move to a monthly column published both in The Monitor Magazine and online at TrentonMonitor. com.

“As Advent approached last year, we moved from a weekly to a seasonal resource,” Contino explained. When fewer people were clicking to view the resources on the diocesan website, “We decided that a column could give families and couples concrete ways to increase practice of the faith in their homes, and how to evangelize,” she said.

“It’s always good to talk directly to [the faithful], to keep encouraging them to grow in faith,” Arriola said. With the monthly column not tied specifically to the Sunday readings, but more broad faith-based material, he noted, “We now have the opportunity to think outside the box and offer practical ideas.”

Topics that Faith at Home will address in the months to come include cultivating a prayer life, the virtues of gratitude and forgiveness, how to use the Bible at home, going to Mass with young children, and tips to highlight the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent. Both English and Spanish language versions of the column will be available.

“We also want to encourage parents and couples not to give up, to keep trying,” Arriola added. “We have to learn to do good things, it doesn’t come naturally … it challenges me as a father to start first, because I’m not going to ask my children to do something that I’m not doing.”

Listen to the "Faith at Home" podcast on Soundcloud