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Word on Fire to launch master’s program in evangelization with St. Thomas-Houston…

Word on Fire to launch master’s program in evangelization with St. Thomas-Houston…

Petrusek said that one pillar of Word on Fire that’s “especially important” for this initiative is “looking for the ‘seeds of the word’ in the culture.” 

“Now, this is something that goes back to the very beginning of the Church,” he said. “It’s speaking in ways that are intelligible to people wherever they are, across the different dimensions of the culture.”

“The culture,” he noted, is an “umbrella term” that includes entertainment, politics, art, architecture, literature, and technology.

“We want our students to be able to speak to individuals in all those different niches of contemporary culture,” he said but noted that Word on Fire is not looking to “accommodate secular culture.” 

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“We’re looking at points of contact where we can get a foothold in, to have conversations, and ultimately, to open the door to possible conversions to the relationship with Christ and his Church,” he explained. 

Word on Fire Institute hopes to not only form “culturally competent” students but also students who have “thick skin.”

Petrusek said that over the past 40 to 50 years, the Church “in many degrees, has grown timid, especially in the West.” 

“And so we’re seeking to overcome that timidity and to go out into the different facets of the culture, recognizing that it’s not going to be easy — it’s sometimes going to be hostile,” he said. “It will very commonly be indifferent and skeptical, and that’s fine. Those aren’t going to be barriers for us to move into those spaces.”  

This evangelization is also “high-spirited,” Petrusek explained.

“Moving out into the culture, as [you’re] truly manifesting joy, which does not mean always having a goofy smile on your face,” he said. “It means knowing who you are and what you’re for, being grounded in Christ.”

The program costs $600 per credit hour and is taught live online.

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The faculty will include faithful scholars and leaders in Catholic thought, including Word on Fire Institute professors. 

Barron is closely involved in the program and may teach, Petrusek noted.

“To what degree he’ll be teaching is something that we’re still working on long-term,” he said, adding: “But he will certainly be a part of it.” 

Word on Fire has had “tremendous interest already” after Wednesday’s launch, Petrusek said.

“There’s been a great response,” he said, but noted that a small class size is important for the program.  

“We are committed to keeping our classes at a level where conversation is not only possible but encouraged,” he said.

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