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What Makes Us Catholic, Part 1:
Community, Common Good, Common Heritage, and Sacramental Life


Featuring videos with Dr. Thomas H. Groome

This course is a guided discussion of the first half of Boston College Professor Thomas H. Groome's critically acclaimed book, What Makes Us Catholic: Eight Gifts for Life.  In each of the four chapters considered, Groome poses a question for reflection and suggests a gift for life that can be found in our Catholic identity.  For example, "What's it all about?" discusses a sacramental view of life; and "Are we made for each other?" examines the meaning of the common good.  Join in a discussion of how to integrate Catholic Christian faith into "real life," weaving together a spirituality to sustain us in the everyday.  Video segments produced by Silver Burdett Ginn featuring Dr. Thomas H. Groome accompany the course.

This course has a companion text, though it is not required (the videos cover the same material): Thomas H. Groome. What Makes Us Catholic: Eight Gifts for Life. Harper San Francisco, 2003. ISBN: 0060633999 (paperback) ISBN 0060633980 (hardback – 2002 imprint) 

Check the course schedule for future offerings of this course.


Introductory Week
Week 1: "Who Do We Think We Are?" -- Living as Graceful People
Week 2: "What's It All About?" -- Living a Sacramental View
Week 3: "Are We Made for Each Other?" -- Getting Together for Good
Week 4: "What Time Do We Have?" -- Mining the Treasury of Scripture and Tradition

Special Features

This course includes:

  • Weekly introductions to each new topic;
  • "What Makes Us Catholic" video series featuring Dr. Thomas H. Groome, produced by Silver Burdett Ginn;
  • Text transcripts of each featured video;
  • Weekly questions for reflection and discussion; and
  • A regularly updated Resources page for further study.

All STM Online: Crossroads courses include these features:

  • Participants have access 24 hours/ 7 days a week to the course's password-protected web site. 
  • Each participant belongs to a small Community for Conversation and faith sharing guided by a facilitator.
  • Course site is usually available to participants at least three months after the course has ended.
  • An orientation in how to navigate the web site is always available.
  • Technical assistance is easy to contact and prompt in returning a message.
  • A Certificate of Active Participation is awarded to those who post at least three messages of substance for each week of content.

Additional Materials Needed:

For this course, participants may wish to purchase the following book (the videos cover the same material):

Thomas H. Groome. What Makes Us Catholic: Eight Gifts for Life. Harper San Francisco, 2003. ISBN: 0060633999 (paperback) ISBN 0060633980 (hardback – 2002 imprint)

Time Commitment:

A participant can expect to spend an average of 3-4 hours each week.  This commitment includes both the assigned reading and interaction online.

Fee: $50

Content Scholar:

Videos and text by Dr. Thomas H. Groome, professor of theology and religious education, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.