TT-2A, "Using the Remote to Find Jesus," May 17, 7:05 p.m., The College of Saint Rose, Albany

Looking for God? Try Netflix.

The online video streaming service is just one example Brian Evers uses to show teenagers how they can connect Catholic teachings with everyday TV shows and video clips.

"It's helping parents and young people to see that faith isn't just locked up in this box; we live in it 24 hours a day," he said.

Mr. Evers is associate director of safe environment for the Albany Diocese. He leads sessions of the Virtus program, training adults in how to protect children from abuse.

In his course at this year's Spring Enrichment, he'll use television shows, YouTube clips and viral videos familiar to today's youth to show teens -- and their parents -- that these forms of media can be connected to the teachings of God.

The course is part of a series of breakout sessions for young people and parents called "Be the Church Now," to be held during Spring Enrichment the afternoon of May 17. Other sessions will cover pop culture, "saints who struggle," prayer, forming authentic relationships and more. The teen program also includes activities around art, service and prayer.

Before accepting his current position with the Diocese, Mr. Evers was the youth minister at St. Pius X parish in Loudonville for 13 years. He still helps out in adult faith formation with his parish, St. Ambrose in Latham.

He plans to use the popular TV show "This Is Us" to talk about loss and forgiveness. A viral YouTube clip of a young softball player being carried around the bases by her opponents will teach the importance of loving one's neighbor.

Mr. Evers hopes to show that Jesus' teachings can be present in young Catholics' lives through the medium of their favorite TV shows or movies, from "Star Wars" to "Despicable Me."

The speaker said he knows how intertwined teenagers are with technology. He'll use that connection to show teens and parents that Church teachings aren't confined to Sundays: "We can find God everywhere, but also in the things we watch."

Mr. Evers said he will also touch upon what TV shows Catholic teens should avoid, as well as the importance of taking a break from technology altogether.


HA1, "Forming Global Disciples," May 17, 7 p.m., The College of Saint Rose, Albany

Maria Barboza wants to show Catholics in the Albany Diocese that "we are one family" across the globe.

"We live in one of the most powerful civilizations in the world, and with that privilege comes a responsibility to care for the world," she explained.

A relationship manager for Catholic Relief Services' northeast region, Mrs. Barboza will teach Catholics about the importance of becoming "global disciples" in her Spring Enrichment course.

That's something she does in her own work: CRS is the U.S. Catholic Church's overseas relief and development agency, and Mrs. Barboza's role is to raise awareness on global issues and collaborate with Catholic institutions to promote global solidarity.

A global disciple, she said, is someone aware of the importance of forming global relationships who turns that awareness into action, working with people of faith to help those in need.

The course will outline actions that can be taken in the local and national community and resources available for those hoping to expand their knowledge and involvement.

"Awareness is the first step," said Mrs. Barboza. Ways to take action include supporting migrant and refugee relief, voting for political candidates who will help the oppressed and looking at clothing labels to avoid purchasing items from companies that have unsafe or unfair working conditions for their employees.

Mrs. Barboza said her course is especially relevant now, as tensions around politics and culture run high in the United States and people have become polarized on many issues.

However, she believes solutions can be found in faith. She referenced Isaiah 11:6, which promises the "lion and the lamb shall lay down together," as an example of how the Catholic faith calls "to work through conflict, and to fill that call to love one another."


CB1, "Women in the Gospel of Luke," May 16, 5 p.m., The College of Saint Rose, Albany

In the Gospel of Luke, says Dr. Shannon Lenet, there are a number of powerful and influential women who deserve to be in the spotlight.

In teaching a course at this year's Spring Enrichment on "Women in the Gospel of Luke," she said, "I want to introduce people to our mothers and sisters of our faith. I want to whip up their appetites."

The course "has its roots deep in the soil of my youth," Dr. Lenet added. She has been planning it for years: She was previously in religious life with the Sisters of the Holy Names for 25 years, and has earned her master's degree in divinity and her doctorate in ministry.

Dr. Lenet said part of her inspiration for the course came from books like Edwina Gateley's "Soul Sisters" and Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza's "In Memory of Her."

"Jesus was helping women. I think this is what made Jesus so controversial," Dr. Lenet said. "I think these women [in the Gospel of Luke] were very assertive and brave, and I think that today we need to constantly be brave."

The Gospel of Luke provides a number of great examples of the strength of women in the Bible, she said: Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, whose work paved the way for Jesus; Mary, the mother of Jesus; and Anna, a prophetess, who blessed the child Jesus.

A number of the women mentioned in Luke's Gospel do not have names - something that Dr. Lenet said is indicative of women's status at the time.

"The society made [women] second-class citizens, but they were more. Jesus said no one is a second-class citizen in [His] Father's kingdom."

Dr. Lenet hopes her course helps participants create a "deepening relationship with these wonderful women of Luke" and see the women as "models for their own journey of faith in following Jesus in the 21st century."