By John LeComte
Stacia Goral says she almost lost faith. That is until 2018 when a car accident changed her life.
“Having the patrol officer tell me I was lucky to be alive taught me that I should trust God’s plan,” Stacia said. “I felt like I had some sense knocked into me.”
Stacia, 24, has now shifted her focus to empowering other young people to have faith through her job as the youth ministry coordinator at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Jacksonville.
Stacia decided to gain more knowledge and skills for her position, so she started taking online classes with the University of Dayton’s Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF). The asynchronous classes allow her to learn anytime, anywhere, and journey with other classmates from around the world.
“The University of Dayton platform allows students to interact with each other on a deeper level,” Stacia said. “Also, the facilitators (instructors) are friendly and provide detailed feedback for a rich, online experience.”
Through her continuing education with VLCFF, Stacia hopes to pass on her knowledge and exuberance throughout her parish.
“Youth ministry has been one of the most fulfilling roles for me,” Stacia said. “We need to encourage our youth to fully experience their own personal and spiritual growth.”
One of Stacia’s goals is to provide young people a sense of belonging within the Catholic Church, including a safe environment for teenagers to talk openly and honestly about their faith.
“I want to make young people feel welcomed and loved,” she said. “Watching these teenagers grow personally and spiritually has been an incredible blessing.”
Just another blessing in Stacia’s life.
The VLCFF offers year-round classes. To start your faith journey, simply create a profile and register for a course. Cycles (semesters) of VLCFF classes will begin on these dates: April 25, May 30, July 18, September 5, and October 24. See the list of courses and calendar. The cost of a class is $50 (5-week) and $40 (3-week) for partnering dioceses. The Diocese of St. Augustine is a partnering diocese. To learn more about the discount for courses, email Erin McGeever, director of Christian Formation for the Diocese of St. Augustine at firstname.lastname@example.org.