‘God With Us’ — The Light of Christ Shines From the East
The many initiatives of ‘God With Us’ aim at the education of the faithful with the hopes of transforming them into active and intentional disciples.
The Church has been blessed with many wonderful and active apostolates aimed at the education and edification of the Church’s members — the Thomistic Institute, the Augustine Institute, and the Lumen Christi Institute, just to name a few. There are numerous solidly orthodox podcasts, online classes and lecture series that are widely available and offered free of charge. Technologies like Zoom, Skype, Google Meet and other platforms make accessing high-quality content easy and convenient.
Leveraging these kinds of technologies is here to stay and the Eastern Catholic Churches in the U.S. are leading the way with the launch of a new series of initiatives through the God With Us apostolate. While not a new apostolate, God With Us has entered into a new phase of growth under the leadership of Father Daniel Dozier, pastor of St. George Byzantine Catholic Church in Olympia, Washington, administrator of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Shrine, and Executive Director of God With Us. I’ve been blessed to work with Father Daniel on the “Becoming Byzantine Series” and he has set an ambitious plan for the growth of God With Us.
God With Us is the official catechetical apostolate of the Eastern Catholic Association of Bishops (Region XV of the USCCB) with Bishop François Beyrouti serving as episcopal liaison. The mission of God With Us is “to educate, equip, and inspire missionary disciples in Eastern Catholic Churches to serve in the vocation of evangelization and catechesis.” The apostolate serves 18 Eastern Catholic dioceses/eparchies around the U.S. and consists of God With Us Radio, God With Us Online, God With Us Books and the God With Us Institute. Each branch of God With Us aims at the education of the faithful with the hopes of transforming them into active and intentional disciples.
God With Us Radio
God With Us Radio boasts a weekly podcast called God With Us Live (featuring my good friend Deacon Nick Modelski), The Orientale Lumen Podcast (offered daily and coming via the Orientale Lumen Foundation). The radio side also has partnerships with Philokalia Ministries, What God Is Not Podcast, Union Without Confusion, and Light of the East Podcast. We know from the success of EWTN Radio how powerful the airwaves can be in reaching lost souls. God With Us Radio seeks to reach out with the voice of the East, both ancient and contemporary, to deliver the timeless message of the Gospel for the salvation of souls.
God With Us Online
God With Us Online (headed by yours truly) seeks to deliver quality content in the digital space. Using a webinar format, we hope to focus on topics and issues relevant to navigating the faith in our modern world, such as “Synodality and the Christian East — Past, Present, and Future.” The series continues through December on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. (EST) on Zoom and features Father Daniel Dozier, Father Michael Winn and Father Deacon Anthony Dragani.
Our “Becoming Byzantine Series” (cited above) has also become a part of the God With Us Online programming and we will be developing other webinar series on topics focusing on the non-Byzantine Eastern Catholic Churches (e.g. Syro-Malabar, Coptic, Chaldean, etc.) and will regularly offer news and views from an Eastern Catholic perspective.
God With Us Institute
God With Us Institute is leading off with “The House of the Lord: A Biblical Catechesis on the Temple,” featuring the book of the same title by Dr. Stephen Smith. This book discussion is an engaging walk through the Old and New Testaments on the importance of the Temple in salvation history. Often we view the Temple as a background feature of salvation history, however, Dr. Smith demonstrates the centrality of the Temple from Eden to Revelation. All Catholics interested in Scripture will benefit from participating in this series. Father Daniel hopes that other series will develop to provide a “deeper dive” into topics of interest for the universal Church.
God With Us Books
Finally, God With Us Books focuses on providing quality catechetical materials for adults and youth. The Dwelling Place, a family-formation curriculum powered by Byzi-Kids, provides monthly downloadable lessons for every age based on themes for the catechetical year. Teacher manuals and a single-volume adult Byzantine Catholic catechism round out the catalog. Other titles will be added to inform and assist parents, catechists, and pastors to provide top-quality catechesis for all ages.
God With Us Guilds
God With Us has also instituted the creation of two “guilds” to facilitate in-depth catechetical development and ongoing formation for clergy.
The St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catechists Guild (launching in January) provides formal training and development for catechists, teachers and lay leaders in Eastern Catholic parishes, schools, ministries and eparchies. The Catechists Guild educates, equips and inspires those who labor in evangelization and catechesis according to Eastern Catholic teachings and practices, offering training through courses and workshops leading to certifications and a network of coaching and support from others who labor in the task of making disciples of all nations. The annual fee to join the Guild is $30 per year and provides all of the benefits and access of membership in the Guild to hundreds of courses and multiple certifications.
The St. Basil the Great Clerical Guild (also launching in January) seeks to provide opportunities for clergy for continuous formation via online courses and certifications. It also aims to create a community of clergy-learners who can benefit from mutual encouragement and fraternity. Giving our clergy convenient access to quality courses will keep them fresh and engaged. A clergyman who is a lifelong learner cannot help but share the fruits of his labors with his congregation. In this way, everyone can benefit from the clergy involved in the St. Basil the Great Guild.
Light From the East
The entire God With Us apostolate is aimed at making it easier and more convenient to have access to information about the Eastern Catholic Churches. Throughout my time writing for the Register, I have tried to shine a light on the “other lung” of the Catholic Church.
Despite my best efforts, there are still many Catholics who are closed off from the brilliant light of the East. God With Us seeks to educate and inform Eastern Catholics for sure, but also to invite Latin-Rite Catholics to engage and come to understand and appreciate their Eastern Catholic brothers and sisters. We’re all neighbors in the same Church of Christ anyway, so we might as well get to know each other!
I hope that through these efforts, and by God’s enduring grace, God With Us will be a force for the building up of the universal Church and a catalyst for forming active and intentional disciples. We need active and intentional disciples in our world more than ever. We need to re-evangelize the world and bring many lost and lukewarm souls to Christ. Will you join us by supporting our efforts?
You can find more at GodWithUsOnline.org.