Catholic Resources for Parishes & Adult Education

Answer the Questions Parishioners Are Really Asking

Many Catholic adults are being challenged by the these four popular secular myths:
  • I have doubts – about God’s existence and life after death.
  • Suffering is my big issue. Wouldn’t God prefer happiness?
  • I want to be a better person. What do I need to do?
  • God yes, but Jesus – I’m not so sure.

Belief in these myths have already led a large number to skepticism and unbelief.  We must redress these myths among faith-seeking adults in our parishes and adult education programs.

The Magis Center has developed, and is continuing to develop, resources for college students and campus ministers to respond to these allegations with cutting edge research in science, philosophy and theology.

Explore our top tools:

1. Resources for Adult Faith Formation

Parish presentation discussions as well as home study,

3. Resources for Catechists and Young Adult Ministers

Two resources for 11th and 12th grade.

Resources for Adult Faith Formation

There are five resources concerning faith and reason (particularly faith and science) available for adult faith formation:

Science, God, & Creation

The origins of the universe suggest creation, purpose and design. This entertaining and informative documentary explores string theory, bouncing universes, and multiverses – and what we can learn from physics and faith.

The 21st Century has revealed a remarkable complementarity between physics and faith.

The origins of the universe suggest a creation, and the constants and conditions of our universe strongly indicate purpose and design.  It is at once entertaining – filled with visual effects and graphics – and is informative about the most important questions – and what science can tell us about them.

From Nothing To Cosmos Series

A full treatment of topics on the evidence for God from contemporary science. 

This DVD series featuring Fr. Robert J. Spitzer S.J., Ph.D. covers the topics in Science, God and Creation in great detail. It  covers six additional topics not treated in Science, God & Creation.

This 4 DVD set (approximately 4 hours)  is a dynamic presentation (with separately available The Workbook +) can be used for a twelve-part presentation in senior religion courses. It can also be used as the foundation for a one-semester course in faith and science.

On-line College Level Lecture Series on the Evidence for God From Contemporary Science and Philosophy

Evidence for God from Contemporary Physics and Philosophy – Resources include on-line lectures and a study guide.

Several adults in parish settings are looking for collegiate level faith formation in the area of contemporary science and philosophy.

This series of twenty-two on-line lectures (accompanied by a free on-line comprehensive study guide – approximately 93 pages) gives a comprehensive exploration of scientific, logical and philosophical approaches to God. A print edition of the study guide is also available.

Cosmic Origins

This 50-minute documentary features eight world renowned physicists speaking about the evidence for creation and supernatural design from contemporary physics.

An ideal complement to both The Reason Series (ninth grade program) and Science, God & Creation (twelfth grade program).

Included are Dr. Arno Penzias (Nobel Prize for discovering Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation), Dr. John Polkinghorne (Cambridge University Physics, Templeton Laureate), Dr. Owen Gingerich (Harvard University – Astronomy), Dr. Michael Heller (Vatican Observatory, Templeton Laureate), Dr. Lisa Randall (Harvard University Cosmology), Dr. Jennifer Wiseman (NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies), and Dr. Stephen Barr (University of Delaware Physics).

Enjoy an excellent production value, with outstanding graphics and visual effects to captivate your class. This product is recommended as an introduction of faith and science: it has the strength of the testimony of 8 world renowned scientists.

An excellent tool for parish Confirmation retreats and Confirmation classes.

Evidence for God from Contemporary Science and Philosophy

This comprehensive set of questions and answers is designed as a study guide to accompany Fr. Spitzer’s award winning book, New Proofs for the Existence of God, as well as the College Lecture Series titled, Evidence for God from Physics and Philosophy.
Though it is written specifically with those products in mind, the first chapter will be very helpful to those who have purchased Cosmic Origins or Science, God and Creation.

Happiness, The Series

If God is all loving, why is there suffering? This series tackles this massive modern question head on, and shows how happiness affects our view of ourselves, the choices we make, and our purpose in life.

Happiness is the one thing you can choose for itself – everything else is chosen for the sake of happiness.

In this one phrase, Aristotle reveals how happiness affects our view of ourselves,  purpose, what we pursue in life and career, who we choose as friends and spouses – just about everything we believe and hold dear.

To help you better use this series, we offer free resources:

  1. Slide deck Presentations in PDF format for each lesson.
  2. A PDF Teacher’s Resource Manual with: detailed lesson plans, prayers, handouts, assessments, additional activities, video clips, and more, all which can be used in a variety of settings and time frames.

Happiness, Suffering, and the Love of God Series

Get answers to some of life’s most vexing questions, and dispel popular misconceptions.

For those who believe happiness and suffering are incompatible, Fr. Robert Spitzer’s lectures is a guide towards authentic and lasting happiness. Life-changing.

“Suffering in the world proves God doesn’t exist. If God was all powerful he could stop suffering. God was all loving he would stop suffering.”

While this line of thinking sounds compelling, it’s actually built on faulty logic and ignorance of the facts. Father Spitzer dismantles this myth piece by piece with Happiness, Suffering and the Love of God, and shows us how to find meaning in suffering and lasting happiness.

To help you better use this series, we offer free resources:

  1. Slide deck Presentations in PDF format for each lesson.
  2. A PDF Teacher’s Resource Manual with: detailed lesson plans, prayers, handouts, assessments, additional activities, video clips, and more, all which can be used in a variety of settings and time frames. This study has received the Imprimatur.

Resources for Confirmation Retreats

Confirmation Retreats for Ninth and Tenth Graders

The Reason Series

A 5-part program that empowers teachers to effortlessly provide confirmation students all the evidence they need to be more certain about a transcendent, super-intelligent, creative power: God.

Based on the award-winning book, New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy by Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J. Ph.D., The Reason Series follows college freshman Joe as he learns to defend his faith from his atheist roommate, Tyler, with the help of physics and philosophy grad students, Dan and Alana.

The Reason Series (5-DVD set) has been used effectively on confirmation retreats.

Directors of the retreats have shown the DVD’s on the morning, afternoon, and evening of the first day, and on the morning and afternoon of the second day. If retreat directors are concerned about five DVD’s being presented during the retreat and wish to reduce the number to four, we would recommend not showing DVD#1, and beginning with DVD#2.

Retreat directors may want to ask someone from the parish who has an interest in science and philosophy (such as a scientist, engineer or teacher) to help facilitate discussion of the DVD’s during the retreat. The evidence of a beginning of the universe, the fine-tuning of the universe, and near death experiences galvanizes the students’ belief in the existence and presence of God during the retreat and makes the retreat quite vital and spiritual. It has lasting effects throughout their lives.

Why this program should be used in confirmation retreats:

The Reason Series provides vital information to students who may believe that science and faith are irreconcilable or who are experiencing skepticism about their faith. The faith of young adults is being progressively undermined by half truths. Our young people are in serious need of a defense of their faith that is both contemporary and scientific – otherwise they may fall victim to the false claims and misimpressions created by an increasingly secular society.

The 2012 PEW Survey of the Religious Landscape of America indicated that the number of young people declaring themselves “Nones” (agnostics or unbelievers) has doubled in the last five years. It is likely to redouble in the next five years. Confirmation programs are frequently the last chance that the Church has to give some adult faith formation to students who are going to public high schools and universities. If we do not give them some means of defending their faith in this context, they are not likely to get it at all.

Catechists and confirmation teachers may use these DVD’s on retreats or in catechism classes. The retreat setting is better suited for it because students have time to reflect on the material without long separations between classes. This series could also be used as a “take-home” project during the confirmation program. It has even greater effect when parents and students watch the program together and discuss it.

The science in the DVD’s is quite contemporary, and biographies of physicists and references are given in the Faculty Resource Manual. Each DVD contains oral and written summaries and many engaging graphics within the dramatization. It is filmed at Mt. Wilson Observatory, and on college and high school campuses.

To help you better use The Reason Series, we offer free resources:

  1. Slide deck Presentations in PDF format for each lesson.
  2. A PDF Teacher’s Resource Manual with: detailed lesson plans, prayers, handouts, assessments, additional activities, video clips, and more, all which can be used in a variety of settings and time frames. This study has received the Imprimatur.

Confirmation Retreats for Eleventh and Twelfth Graders

Some confirmation programs will have students from 11th or 12th grade (or perhaps in college). We recommend the 1 hour and fifty-five minute DVD presentation by Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D. for the confirmation retreat to cover the material on faith and science for these older students.

There is also a comprehensive study guide accompanying the DVD presentation with questions and answers as well as quotations, references, and biographies of major scientists who discovered the evidence.

The DVD and the study guide are inexpensive, so if confirmation programs do not intend to use these resources during retreats or classes, they may want to recommend it for home use by both students and parents.

Science, God, & Creation

The origins of the universe suggest creation, purpose and design. This entertaining and informative documentary explores string theory, bouncing universes, and multiverses – and what we can learn from physics and faith.

The 21st Century has revealed a remarkable complementarity between physics and faith.

The origins of the universe suggest a creation, and the constants and conditions of our universe strongly indicate purpose and design.  It is at once entertaining – filled with visual effects and graphics – and is informative about the most important questions – and what science can tell us about them.

If Science, God & Creation is not used in confirmation programs, catechists and youth ministers may want to use it in catechism classes or in youth ministry reflections or retreats. It gives an expanded explanation of the concepts and evidence given in The Reason Series, and answers questions concerning faith and science and evidence for God from science and reason.

If this program is not used in any confirmation, catechism, or youth program in the parish, catechists may want to recommend it for home use by both students and parents.

From Nothing To Cosmos Study Guide

Possibly saving the best for last, this series is ideal for upper level high school students. It is Fr. Spitzer lecturing, so the ideal method of use would be to watch short segments and then stop for discussion.

This is certain to bring about a great deal of discussion and that is what we strive for. This presentation will combat the popular secular myth that science has proven God does not exist. The evidence is all on our side.

Be sure to get The Workbook + so you can answer the questions that are sure to arise. It contains comprehensive questions and answers for all the material in Science, God and Creation and From Nothing to Cosmos.

It also has the power points from the presentations, as well as quotations, biographies, and references of major scientists and philosophers.

Confirmation Retreats for Ninth through Twelfth Grade

Happiness, The Series

Aristotle said, “Happiness is the one thing you can choose for itself – everything else is chosen for the sake of happiness. “In this one phrase, he reveals how happiness affects our view of ourselves, success, purpose in life – and yes – even our happiness.

This one concept controls what we pursue in life and career – and who we choose as our friends and spouses – just about everything we believe and hold dear.

Our high school students need to seriously engage this question in order to make sense out of their lives, their studies, and themselves. Fr. Robert Spitzer has devised a program called “The Four Levels of Happiness” which helps students (and teachers) better understand their options for happiness and purpose in life – and to recognize the traps and pitfalls of delaying decisions, and selecting unwisely.

In these 7 episodes, students will encounter the major ideas and principles underlying their happiness – as well as its two related issues – transcendent eternal life and the purpose of suffering.

Two lively young narrators – Eric Johnson and Jennifer Milani – help to interpret world-renowned experts who provide contemporary evidence for God, the soul, the resurrection of Jesus, and the purpose of suffering. An illustrated, user-friendly Study Guide is also available with summaries, study questions, definitions, biographies, and references

To help you better use this series, we offer free resources:

  1. Slide deck Presentations in PDF format for each lesson.
  2. A PDF Teacher’s Resource Manual with: detailed lesson plans, prayers, handouts, assessments, additional activities, video clips, and more, all which can be used in a variety of settings and time frames.

Resources for Catechists and Young Adult Youth Ministers

In dioceses where confirmation typically takes place in the 10th grade, catechists may be looking for material that will have a high impact in the lives of students in the 11th and 12th grades. The programs on faith and science and Happiness, Suffering, and the Love of God, are two of the most high impact programs the students can watch.

They answer the questions about evidence and proof for God from science as well as why an all-powerful, all-loving God would allow suffering in the world.

Cosmic Origins

This 50-minute documentary features eight world renowned physicists speaking about the evidence for creation and supernatural design from contemporary physics.

An ideal complement to both The Reason Series (ninth grade program) and Science, God & Creation (twelfth grade program).

Included are Dr. Arno Penzias (Nobel Prize for discovering Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation), Dr. John Polkinghorne (Cambridge University Physics, Templeton Laureate), Dr. Owen Gingerich (Harvard University – Astronomy), Dr. Michael Heller (Vatican Observatory, Templeton Laureate), Dr. Lisa Randall (Harvard University Cosmology), Dr. Jennifer Wiseman (NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies), and Dr. Stephen Barr (University of Delaware Physics).

Enjoy an excellent production value, with outstanding graphics and visual effects to captivate your class. This product is recommended as an introduction of faith and science: it has the strength of the testimony of 8 world renowned scientists.

An excellent tool for parish Confirmation retreats and Confirmation classes.

The Reason Series

Catechists and confirmation teachers may use these DVD’s on retreats or in catechism classes.

The retreat setting is better suited for it because students have time to reflect on the material without long separations between classes. This series could also be used as a “take-home” project during the confirmation program. It has even greater effect when parents and students watch the program together and discuss it.

The science in the DVD’s is quite contemporary, and biographies of physicists and references are given in the Faculty Resource Manual. Each DVD contains oral and written summaries and many engaging graphics within the dramatization. It is filmed at Mt. Wilson Observatory, and on college and high school campuses.

Based on the award-winning book, New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy by Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J. Ph.D., The Reason Series follows college freshman Joe as he learns to defend his faith from his atheist roommate, Tyler, with the help of physics and philosophy grad students, Dan and Alana.

The Reason Series (5-DVD set) has been used effectively on confirmation retreats.

To help you better use The Reason Series, we offer free resources:

  1. Slide deck Presentations in PDF format for each lesson.
  2. A PDF Teacher’s Resource Manual with: detailed lesson plans, prayers, handouts, assessments, additional activities, video clips, and more, all which can be used in a variety of settings and time frames. This study has received the Imprimatur.

Science, God, & Creation

The origins of the universe suggest creation, purpose and design. This entertaining and informative documentary explores string theory, bouncing universes, and multiverses – and what we can learn from physics and faith.

The 21st Century has revealed a remarkable complementarity between physics and faith.

The origins of the universe suggest a creation, and the constants and conditions of our universe strongly indicate purpose and design.  It is at once entertaining – filled with visual effects and graphics – and is informative about the most important questions – and what science can tell us about them.

From Nothing To Cosmos Series

A full treatment of topics on the evidence for God from contemporary science. 

This DVD series featuring Fr. Robert J. Spitzer S.J., Ph.D. covers the topics in Science, God and Creation in great detail. It  covers six additional topics not treated in Science, God & Creation.

This 4 DVD set (approximately 4 hours)  is a dynamic presentation (with separately available The Workbook +) can be used for a twelve-part presentation in senior religion courses. It can also be used as the foundation for a one-semester course in faith and science.

Happiness, The Series

Aristotle said, “Happiness is the one thing you can choose for itself – everything else is chosen for the sake of happiness.” In this one phrase, Aristotle reveals how our happiness is affected by our view of ourselves, our success (status) and our purpose in life. Seeking happiness controls what we pursue in life and career – and who we choose as our friends and spouses – just about everything we believe and hold dear.

How do we find true happiness? Our high school students need to seriously engage this question in order to make sense out of their lives, their studies, and themselves.

Fr. Robert Spitzer has devised a program called “The Four Levels of Happiness” which helps students (and teachers) better understand their options for happiness and purpose in life – and to recognize the traps and pitfalls of delaying decisions, and selecting unwisely. In these 7 episodes, students will encounter the major ideas and principles underlying their happiness – as well as its two related issues – transcendent eternal life and the purpose of suffering.

If you are leading a Confirmation retreat, you really should include this material. Recognizing that 7 DVDs is probably too much for a weekend retreat, if you select Episode 1 that focuses on finding true happiness (using Fr. Spitzer’s, Four Levels of Happiness) and then share Episode 7 that responds to the atheist’s claim that God causes suffering, these 2 episodes can have a life altering affect on your students (and, very likely, the staff).

Two lively young narrators – Eric Johnson and Jennifer Milani – help students interpret world-renowned experts who provide contemporary evidence for God, the soul, the resurrection of Jesus, and the purpose of suffering. An illustrated, user-friendly Study Guide is also available with summaries, study questions, definitions, biographies, and references.

To help you better use this series, we offer free resources:

  1. Slide deck Presentations in PDF format for each lesson.
  2. A PDF Teacher’s Resource Manual with: detailed lesson plans, prayers, handouts, assessments, additional activities, video clips, and more, all which can be used in a variety of settings and time frames.

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