A few days ago I had a conversation with a mother. She shared a frustration that many shows on television, Netflix, Amazon, and many other platforms are avenues for inappropriate material for children. Shows that are designed for kids promote lifestyles very contrary to the Gospel. Programs that are marketed toward children present certain ways of life that are immoral. Of course this is nothing new for the media. Movies and TV are filled with “one night stands,” cohabitation, drunkenness, drug use, foul language, and other obscenities.
However, being contained and promoted in a children’s show is the next level because children aren’t able to filter out bad material. Children can’t identify what is wrong with particular shows. (You could argue that adults aren’t really able to do this either, but that is a different topic for a different day). This leaves parents in a difficult position. Should they watch every episode of every show before allowing their children to watch it? Is there a way to screen shows?
Formed.org has been described as “Catholic Netflix.” Currently our parishes subscribe to Formed.org, which means all of our parishioners have access to the platform. Simply go to our website, petersburgparishes.org, hover over “Faith Formation,” go down to “Recommended Resources,” and then select “Formed.” There are simple instructions at the bottom of that page that walk you through the process of activating your subscription. Once you’ve registered online, there is an app for your TV, smartphone, or tablet.
The platform has numerous options for children of all ages. I’m not a connoisseur of children’s programming, but to me it seems educational, catechetical, and entertaining. You can be sure that it is appropriate for children, not teaching them any immoral material. There are programs to learn about the stories of the Old Testament, the stories of Jesus Christ, the saints, the sacraments, and much more.
Formed.org has more than children’s programming. There are tons of high quality programs for adults as well. Some are strictly Faith Formation like the “Wild Goose” series which is about the Holy Spirit. I highly recommend this series; it is powerful. Another interesting series is the “Sanctuary Course” which explores the connection between faith and mental health. Also there are Catholic documentaries. Consider watching “A Sign of Contradiction” about St. Francis of Assisi in preparation for his feast day on October 4th. There are full-length movies as well.
Formed.org also has audio content. Catholic talks by speakers like Scott Hahn, Fr. Donald Calloway, and Fr. Mike Schmitz are dynamite. They have also produced audio dramas about the life of particular saints (and Robin Hood!). The audio dramas are phenomenal. All of their audio content is perfect for the car, whether a commute to work, a road trip, or taking the kids to soccer practice.
I highly encourage everyone to utilize the Formed.org resource. Our world is filled with messages that destroy the soul and our spiritual life. This platform can fill us and our children with heavenly thoughts. It is a free resource and one that we’d be foolish not to take advantage of. Oftentimes we bemoan that technology is hurting our children, our families, ourselves, and our future. By God’s grace, we can use technology to form us as followers of Jesus Christ and faithful members of His Catholic Church.
PS – Next week’s bulletin article will announce the top ten potential patrons for our parish.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson