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Kate Taliaferro reviews one of St. Paul Center's Emmaus Academy's new online courses, designed to further our personal faith formation.

I think we can easily forget that there isn’t an end of learning when it comes to our faith. We don’t “graduate” or “finish” in terms of faith and knowledge of God. God is immeasurable, infinite, eternal, outside of time and space. Even when we die and come into His full presence, there will still be things outside of our understanding because we are not God, nor will we ever be.   

While there is no true end to learning about what we believe, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a journey worth pursuing. We are immensely blessed with a faith that is rich in meaning, tradition, and history. We also believe in a living faith. The Holy Spirit is still actively guiding the Church as a whole as well as each one of us individually. Mysteries of our faith are still being revealed, apparitions are still happening, saints are still being made. Even if someone, somehow, managed to learn all the things that have been discovered about our faith to this point, they still would not know all of it because there is more the Holy Spirit is waiting to draw us into.   

If you haven’t guessed yet, I love to learn and I especially love this adventure of learning the deep mysteries of our faith. I was so pleased to be able to review a new course from the St. Paul Center’s Emmaus Academy titled “Full of Grace.” The Emmaus Academy is a learning platform that has a wide range of video-based courses on a variety of topics especially pertaining to Sacred Scripture. It also has a few book-based series where you can read through a modern text and engage in reflections guided by the author. Finally, Emmaus Academy offers a growing number of special presentations on specific topics. So far, Dr. Scott Hahn has a video series that walks through the Our Father, and this July a new series will be released: “The Catholic Table.” Emmaus Academy has monthly and yearly subscription options. 


“Full of Grace” is a Marian focused series of 12 videos, ranging from 22-40 minutes (only 1 40-minute video, the rest were 35 minutes or less). The videos are given by Fr. Daniel Maria Klimek, TOR, a professor of Mariology at Steubenville University. At the conclusion of each video there is an optional 5 question quiz which highlights some of the overall concepts discussed in the video.   

There is no time-specific requirement for these courses. You are working through them on your own and at your own pace. However, at the start of the course, I appreciated that I was shown a window which projected how many hours a week I wished to dedicate to that course, and if Istuck to that plan, when I would expect to conclude. While not a binding document, it was a nice touch for emphasizing that this course should be a priority in my schedule.  




As a mom of 6 kids, I don’t have a ton of time to sit down and devote 30 minutes to a video that delivers a lot of information I want to retain. These aren’t background-noise videos. Each one was full of interesting content pertaining to Mary’s role in Scripture, background information about the Garden of Eden and how Mary is part of the fulfillment of God’s promises to Adam and Eve, the history and development of Marian dogmas, Marian apparitions, and even Mary’s role in spiritual warfare. This was a packed course.  

The interface is very clean and easy to navigate, which I appreciated. Even more, I appreciated that the course kept my place in the video I was in the middle of, even if I was switching between my computer and my phone. This was a huge plus for me because it happened often that I would start a video on my phone, want to stop to take a note and get distracted by this, that or the other, and then return in the evening on my laptop. There wasn’t any trying to remember the time stamp or which video was I in the middle of again.   

This was a very dense course. Excellent, but dense. I would highly recommend keeping a notebook handy because there will be a lot to write down as well as a number of new authors you might want to check out. If you haven’t had the opportunity to study your faith in a more academic setting, this course might be a little overwhelming. But, because these are pre-recorded videos, you can pause or rewatch as you need so you can fully explore all the concepts presented.   

Overall, this was an excellent experience for me. It was so good to spend this time focusing intently on the Blessed Mother and how special she is for the Church, as well as for me personally.  




Copyright 2023 Kate Taliaferro
Images: (top, bottom) By Martpan - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons; (center) screenshot copyright 2023 Kate Taliaferro