About SPARCS

SPARCS (Spiritual Program for All Returning Catholics) is a dynamic and accessible study designed to help people understand the Catholic faith. This series of brief sessions explores the ins and outs of the Mass, Vatican II, and Reconciliation; gives an in-depth look at the Church’s process of marriage, divorce, and annulment; and provides first-hand accounts from newly returned Catholics. Showing the depth of God’s abundant mercy, SPARCS invites you to develop an integrated relationship with Christ. Offered as online sessions, SPARCS is a great map for those who are on-the-go.

Biography

From humble beginnings in the 1930’s as a campus ministry for the College of Williams & Mary, Saint Bede Roman Catholic Church has evolved into a dynamic parish in the Diocese of Richmond, VA. The parish serves parishioners in Greater Williamsburg, VA as well as travelers from all over the country and the world who visit this historic city. Saint Bede is a community proclaiming Christ’s message in word and action and seeks to enhance its evangelization efforts through the production and distribution of SPARCS.

Project Statement

SPARCS is an audio-visual presentation which was authored and produced by Saint Bede Roman Catholic Church in Williamsburg, VA. Saint Bede is a parish within the Diocese of Richmond. SPARCS is an acronym for Spiritual Program for All Returning Catholics.

The series is based upon a Saint Bede parish sponsored program originally entitled Welcome Home. Although re-designed and expanded as SPARCS, its original content has been largely preserved and remains divided into six sessions: One – God’s Abundant Mercy; Two – Faith Sharing; Three – The Church & Vatican II; Four – The Mass; Five – Marriage, Divorce, & Annulment; Six – Reconciliation. Each session lasts from 25-53 minutes. The two instructors are Monsignor Michael McCarron, pastor at St. Bede during the time of filming and now pastor at St. Thomas More in Lynchburg, VA, and Deacon Dominic Cerrato, Director of Adult Education at Saint Bede during the time of filming and now Program Director at St John Paul II Foundation. Several Saint Bede parishioners are featured in the series as witnesses to their own return to the Catholic Church.

The content of SPARCS is catechistically-based and Christ-centered. As such, it answers the call for outreach in the New Evangelization initiatives created by Pope Francis. SPARCS focuses on those individuals who have been inspired by the Holy Spirit to take the first step toward a return to the Church. Perhaps they are fearful, do not have a plan of how to make the return, or are just curious as to the steps that need to be taken – culminating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There are few, if any, similarly focused series that are available to parishes, dioceses, or individuals that meet this specific need.

Portions of the SPARCS series may also be of value for others who seek more information about the Mass and insight into the sacraments of Marriage and Reconciliation.