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Joseph Pearce

Joseph Pearce is Senior Editor at the Augustine Institute, editor of the St. Austin Review and the author of books on Shakespeare, Tolkien, Chesterton and other Christian literary figures.


Writing for Faith & Culture

We welcome the submission of articles of between 600 and 1,500 words on topics related to Catholic faith and culture. Articles should be emailed as Word attachments to Joseph Pearce.

Faith Formation and Faithful Fatherhood

Faith Formation and Faithful Fatherhood

An Interview with Augustine Institute Alumnus Christopher Beale

Christopher Beal, a 2014 graduate of the Augustine Institute, is the Director of the Office of Faith Formation in the Diocese of Charlotte, NC. Prior to this position, Chris has served both as a parish Director of Faith Formation and a Youth Minister for over 10 years. He received his undergraduate degree in Theology at Belmont Abbey College. Chris resides with his wife Brynne and their six children in Salisbury, NC.

Faith & Culture:

What is the role of the office of Faith Formation?

Christopher Beal:

The mission of the Office of Faith Formation is to assist in the implementation of the Bishop’s vision as it pertains to Catechesis and Evangelization within the Diocese of Charlotte. As a diocesan office we strive to help draw people into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. We accomplish this through assisting and supporting both parishes and families in developing dynamic catechetical programs that foster life-long conversion and commitment. We re-echo to young and old alike the Truth and Beauty of our Catholic Faith and show the importance of living an active Sacramental life, embracing a moral life in Christ Jesus, and the necessity of an active prayer life, rooted in both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

Faith & Culture:

How did you get involved in this ministry?

Christopher Beal:

I was raised in a wonderful home, where the seeds of faith were very much planted and nurtured during my childhood and adolescence. That foundation certainly was the catalyst that propelled my desire to practice and live my faith. That being said, my work in the Church really started with an invitation from a priest friend while I was in college. It was during my time at Belmont Abbey that I truly started living my Catholic Faith. It was the witness of friends and good, holy priests that truly made me consider where God was calling me. I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the first two FOCUS summer trainings in Greeley, CO. During those summers my soul hungered to do the work of evangelization, and that experience really opened my eyes to God’s movement in my life. It became more and more clear that our Lord was calling me to work for His Church in service of the Gospel. The invitation came at the end of my Junior Year. I was asked to take on a part-time youth ministry position at Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury, NC. This position became permanent following my under-graduate degree. It was approximately 11 years later that a position at the Diocese of Charlotte opened up, and I was able to make the move to my present position.

Faith & Culture:

What are the principal challenges you face?

Christopher Beal:

I believe the principle challenge that we face in Catechesis today is the fact that many people have lost or never fully realized the dignity and eternal significance of their lives. John Paul II in Catechesi Tradendae, gives us the primary objective of catechesis: intimate communion with Christ. However, I think now more than ever, many have no substantial relationship with our Heavenly Father. The rise of relativism as well as the constant distractions that bombard people today number among the many reasons for this lack of relationship. There are so many voices competing for the hearts of our children. It seems that we are in an endless competition for both their attention and time, which rarely, if ever, allow for a moment of silence or reflection.

I also believe that we as a Church must do better in the work of evangelization and catechesis. We sometimes get in the habit of throwing rules and doctrines at people in the hope that something will stick. I was at a talk recently, and the speaker said something simple, something I remember being told in my youth, “rules without relationship, lead to rebellion.” Our Lord is calling us into relationship with himself, “Come, follow me.” These were the words he first spoke to his disciples. He invited them first into relationship in order to fully grasp and understand the necessary need for the rules and doctrines.

Faith & Culture:

How has your degree at the Augustine Institute prepared you for the work you do?

Christopher Beal:

One of the lines I often hear is “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.” While I was certainly eager to move forward with the work of the Church I felt ill equipped. As I began my studies at the Augustine Institute, I soon realized that the courses were academically challenging, and the professors were passionate about teaching the faith. I was able to complete my degree through the distance education program as well as a number of on-campus intensive courses. Perhaps what aided me the most was being a part of an institution which truly brought me to an encounter with Christ himself through the classes, the community, and the spiritual nourishment I received while earning my degree. Catholics who are willing to dive deeper into to the richness of our Faith and who strive to “go out and make disciples of all nations” need a place that will both encourage and inspire them while providing an authentic instruction of the faith. The Augustine Institute has given me this.

Faith & Culture:

What saint inspires you?

Christopher Beal:

This is tough, I have devotions to many saints. If I had to choose one saint that inspires me on a daily basis, it would have to be St. Joseph. My vocation as husband and father is one that I take very seriously and where I know l have the greatest influence. As we raise our children, my wife Brynne and I constantly call upon his intercession. Just as I’m sure Joseph was in awe of being asked to raise the Son of God, I often find myself in awe and wonder at the blessings that God has bestowed upon me and the responsibility of raising our children. The fact that the words of St. Joseph were never recorded in Sacred Scripture always strike me, but we know him by his actions. He just responded to our Lord’s call with doing the simple everyday actions that were full of depth and rich in love. Joseph, by taking Mary as his wife, received the son. What a beautiful image that is for us: we must always run to Mary who will in turn bring us to her son.

I recall a meditation that St. John Paul II presented at one of his audiences. He spoke about the “the years of the hidden life of the Holy Family.” From the time he was twelve until the start of his public ministry, Jesus was hidden in the shadow of Joseph. It was that time that I find myself reflecting on most often. What was it for Jesus to live, learn, and witness St. Joseph.

There are many days when I have no idea how to best handle a situation or even when I feel inadequate as a father, and it is those times in particular when I call on St. Joseph the most, asking for his intercession and guidance. St. Joseph, Universal Patron of the Church, Pray for us!

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