Adult Faith Formation/St. Matthew yoUniversity (SMU)

Mission: St. Matthew yoUniversity seeks to invite all adults to grow in their Catholic faith into full Christian maturity. Faith Formation is a life-long process. SMU strives to provide relevant, meaningful educational and spiritual programs for adults of all ages. By incorporating teaching, community and prayer in all that we do, we hope to nurture and support a deep, growing, personal relationship with Jesus and his Church in all those we serve.


SMU – Winter Spring 2021

At this time all St. Matthew studies are virtual until further notice.

Click on the title of the class to register through Faith Direct. You do not need to be registered on Faith Direct to register for your desired class registration. Should you run into a problem using Faith Direct, which happens occasionally, please contact Faith Direct directly so they can assist you completing your registration.

Due to COVID – 19, We are completely thankful and with sincere gratitude that several of our facilitators have offered their time for virtual learning. Please take an opportunity to grow, connect and deepen your relationship with Christ by taking one of our extraordinary classes.

“The Word of God is given to us as the Word of life, which transforms, renews, and does not judge in order to condemn, but heals and has forgiveness as its aim. A Word that is light for our steps!”
Pope Francis,; June 22, 2020

 Lenten Studies for 2021

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem” (Mt 20:18)
Lent: A Time for Renewing Faith, Hope and Love
In this Lenten season, accepting and living the truth revealed in Christ means, first of all, opening our hearts to God’s word, which the Church passes on from generation to generation. This truth is not an abstract concept reserved for a chosen intelligent few. Instead, it is a message that all of us can receive and understand thanks to the wisdom of a heart open to the grandeur of God, who loves us even before we are aware of it. Christ himself is this truth. By taking on our humanity, even to its very limits, he has made himself the way – demanding, yet open to all – that leads to the fullness of life. ~ Pope Francis, 2021


Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Lively Virtues
8 weeks (Beginning the week of February 10)

TEXT “VIRTUES” to 84576 to join this study

You can meet in your small group meeting space or virtually. (See below for tips on meeting virtually.)
Free PDF of Leader and Study Guides through You have a free membership through St. Matthew. See below for details.

Based on Dante’s writings, Bishop Barron shows us how to counteract the seven deadly sins, pride, envy, anger, sloth, gluttony, avarice and lust, through a conscious process of opposition, which are the “seven lively virtues.”
The seven lively virtues offer antidotes to each sin and help set us on the right path to healing and happiness.

How to Find Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Lively Virtues on your Flocknote page:

Text VIRTUES to 84576 and click on the video we send you!

After that, you will be able to access all of the Word on Fire Digital material at


Access Word on Fire digital through Flocknote by visit:

Once logged in to Flocknote, click “My Dashboard” and a big banner will appear with an orange button that says “Visit”

Forgiven: The Transforming Power of Confession

Kathy Consler

Four weeks – Virtual 

Tuesdays, March 2 to March 23

7 to 8 pm

No fee

Forgiven: The Transforming Power of Confession, explores the grace and healing offered in confession and shows how this sacrament of mercy reveals the depth and bounty of God’s love. By looking at God’s revelation of His mercy in Scripture and making a step-by-step examination of the rite itself, Forgiven communicates God’s invitation to each one of us to come experience His indescribable love in the sacrament of reconciliation.

Forgiven is a great way to build the desire for the Sacrament of Confession and to answer any lingering questions you might have about this beautiful sacrament. Come join us!

Portraits of Denis R. McNamara, Ph.D, Assistant Director and Faculty Member of the Liturgical Institute.

Zoom Virtual Talk

Talk by Dr. Denis McNamara
March 24
6 to 7:30 pm

In the great tradition of the Church, God is understood as Love Itself, a Father who sent his Son to rescue humanity and bring it back to his heart. Yet through the centuries, the Father has come to be known at times as angry, remote and untrustworthy. This illustrated lecture will introduce a biblical and liturgical understanding of both God’s love and his justice to help our Lenten practices of conversion and discipline might be understood as a delightful movement toward his loving Heart.

Bio for Dr. Denis McNamara

Dr. Denis McNamara is Associate Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Beauty and Culture at Benedictine College, a position he began in the Fall of 2019.

He holds a BA in the History of Art from Yale University and a PhD in Architectural History from the University of Virginia, where he concentrated his research on the study of ecclesiastical architecture with Richard Guy Wilson and Carroll William Westfall.

From 2000 to 2019 he was a faculty member at the Liturgical Institute of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, a graduate program in Liturgical Studies founded by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago. He served as Associate Professor of Sacramental Aesthetics, Academic Director, Liturgy Director, Music Director, and taught courses on the Liturgical Movement, Liturgical Art and Architecture, Liturgical Inculturation, The Liturgical Year, Liturgical Music and Sacramental Aesthetics.

Dr. McNamara makes a specialty of bridging the gap between the Church’s great artistic tradition and the documents of the Second Vatican Council. He has also done groundbreaking research on scriptural understandings of architecture and the sacramental meaning of the classical architectural tradition.

Dr. McNamara is the author of numerous articles on art, architecture, theology and culture in Communio, Rite, Chicago Studies, Sacred Architecture, Environment and Art Letter, Assembly, The Priest, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Sacred Architecture, Letter and Spirit, The Classicist, the Word on Fire Institute Journal and Arris: Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. He is a regular contributor on topics of church architecture to the Adoremus Bulletin.

His book Heavenly City: The Architectural Tradition of Catholic Chicago (Liturgy Training Publications, 2005) appeared on the Catholic Bestseller List and won a Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Booksellers Association as well as two first place awards from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association. His 2009 book Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy (Hillenbrand Books), was honored in two categories by the Catholic Press Association and his How to Read Churches: A Crash Course In Christian Architecture (Rizzoli, 2011; 2017) was published in eight languages.

He has served on the Art and Architecture Commission of the Archdiocese of Chicago and works frequently with architects and pastors in church renovations and new design.
He has appeared on Catholic and secular television and radio and is a frequent presenter in academic as well as parish settings. and is co-host of a podcast on the sacred liturgy called “The Liturgy Guys,” which won “Best Podcast” from Fisher’s Net in 2017.

He has served as a juror at the schools of architecture at the University of Notre Dame, The Catholic University of American and Benedictine College, and was invited to the Diocese of Christchurch, New Zealand, to educate and consult on the reconstruction of the diocese’s cathedral and parishes after two major earthquakes severely damaged the city’s historic buildings.


Romans: The Gospel of Salvation

8 weeks

Jane Brock, M.Div.

Mondays, 9:30 to 11:30 am

April 12 to June 7

NLC – Banquet Room (In person, please wear your mask.)


Discover What It Means to “Be Saved”
Paul’s letter to the Romans has been at the center of reflection, conversion, and controversy from the time it was written. Presented by Andrew Swafford and Jeff Cavins, Romans: The Gospel of Salvation provides an authentically Catholic, comprehensive, and simple way to understand the overarching theme of Romans – salvation. This fascinating book reveals that salvation is not merely the removal of a guilty verdict; it is about entering into Christ’s life, death, and resurrection and sharing in his divine life.

In Jesus Christ, all the hopes and expectations of Israel are fulfilled, leading to the universal (“catholic”) family of God. Romans: The Gospel of Salvation will help you to make sense of the difficult passages regarding faith, works of the law, and justification. Above all, it will help you to enter into a more meaningful relationship with Christ.

Made for Community: An Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching
9 weeks
Father Peter Ascik, Rachel Willoughby and Dr. David Glasow
Wednesdays, April 14 to June 14
7 to 9 pm
Banquet Room
No Fee, please register

“To teach and to spread her social doctrine pertains to the Church’s evangelizing mission and is an essential part of the Christian message…” (Centessimus Annus, 5)

Pope St. John Paul II has two things to say about the social teaching of the Catholic Church: it is essential and it is evangelical. The social teaching of the Catholic Church helps us understand who we are and how we are to relate to one another. How do we answer the perennial question: Lord, who is my neighbor? Jesus answered this question with the story of the Good Samaritan. How do we see our world today through the eyes of the Good Samaritan? Created for community, it is essential that we spend some time contemplating the goods and structures of societies. It is precisely because it is so essential, affecting every aspect of our worldly lives, that the social teaching of the Catholic church is such fertile ground for evangelization. We pray for the earth to be made like the kingdom of heaven daily in the Our Father. Through its social teaching, the Church works toward this reality.

Through these nine weeks of Catholic Social Teaching, we will work through the approach of the Catholic Church to some of the major questions of our times, encounter some heroes of recent history who lived these principles well, and hopefully leave more inspired to live out these principles ourselves.

“The Church, in fact, has something to say about specific human situations, both individual and communal, national and international.” (Centessimus Annus, 5)

Join us on Wednesday, April 14 to find out what it is.

Special note regarding SMU Winter and Spring 2021:

Childcare will not be offered until further notice. Unfortunately, children will not be allowed to accompany their parents in the classrooms due to the need to social distance.
For now, there will be no food served during any classes and we ask you refrain from bringing food. Please feel free to bring your own coffee cup, water or beverage of your liking.

Click on the link below to get a map and directions to both St. Matthew Ballantyne and St. Matthew -Waxhaw location.



For more information contact Rachel Willoughby 704-543-7677 x 1020.


New to volunteering at St. Matthew? Please read our Safe Environment Policy.