West Chester-based Ascension Press recently garnered attention for its publication of the faith-formation program “Chosen: This is Your Catholic Faith,” which won the Book of the Year prize by the Association of Catholic Publishers.
The program also won two first-place awards under the categories of Resources for Liturgy and Resources for Ministry.
Specifically aimed at teenagers, “Chosen” is a 24-lesson faith-formation program written to help guide young adults to grow in their Catholic faith, and is present in more than 4,500 parishes nationwide — nearly one-third of all Catholic parishes.
According to Ascension Press, the program has reached more than 100,000 youths through its videos, workbooks, online resources and classroom experience to stimulate interest in forming a more adult faith.
The awards were presented to Matt Pinto, president and founder of Ascension Press on June 17 in Chicago.
“We were delighted and we were humbled,” Pinto said of receiving the awards. “We saw it as an affirmation of five years of work, what we were seeing was a tremendous response by religious educators and religious education programs.
“Many of us who work for the church know that confirmation is a difficult sell to young people, who associate religious education to be boring. We chose a high-end video production route, and from it we’ve seen genuine, enthusiastic engagement on the part of teenagers.”
Archbishop Charles Chaput had high praise for the program. “Teens who experience ‘Chosen’ will find themselves drawn deeply into the beauty of Catholicism and the love of Jesus Christ,” he said. “This is a new level of catechesis that uses modern methods to transmit eternal truths.”
Chris Stefanick, author of the “Chosen” series, also spoke of the need to reach out to Catholic youth. “Ultimately, it is beauty that draws the heart,” he said about the series that allows teachers and catechists to speak to young Catholics in a relatable manner. “And when people hear the Gospel in a language that they can understand, it changes their lives.”
The program is presented by 12 youth catechists and evangelists and is available in a Confirmation edition and a general Faith Formation edition.
“Chosen” was shot in over 50 locations, including Rome, Florence, Hollywood, New York and Philadelphia.
More information about the “Chosen” program is on the website previewchosen.com