Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In recent months, I have come across quite a number of converts and reverts to the faith who have made their way home to the Church through a very surprising medium: Youtube. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Youtube is an online platform where pretty much anyone can post videos. There’s an incredible amount of content, from funniest-home-video-style clips, to music videos, to full length TV shows and movies. A growing area of Youtube though is populated by individuals engaged in pretty serious intellectual conversations. Personalities have gained a following speaking at length on current topics, bringing in interesting guests, and challenging people to think more deeply. Some of these videos can be several hours long, and yet still have millions of views. It’s almost surreal to see videos of cats doing silly things next to a two hour lecture on the existence of God, but that’s the way in which Youtube has developed.
And of course what is so amazing to me, and what I want to share with you today, is the number of excellent Catholic videos which have become so readily available. In the spirit of the New Evangelization, where the Church is seeking to reach out to lost generations through modern means, Catholics have taken to this new forum with zeal, and they are doing incredible work. You can find videos defending difficult Church teachings, explaining the history of the Church through its many ups and downs, or discussing pretty much any aspect of our faith. Of course we have to be careful, because like everywhere on the internet there are plenty of unreliable sources, but with discernment it’s possible to really grow in the faith through this platform. I would like then to recommend a few Youtube “channels” for you to check out:
Bishop Robert Barron: Bishop Barron is the trailblazer of new media. Beginning back with the Catholicism video series, his Word on Fire ministry is doing incredible work. You can find videos on his channel that range from movie reviews to homilies to serious debates on the faith in areas such as science and atheism.
Ascension Presents: This channel has a variety of different speakers. Fr. Mike Schmitz is very popular; he is a college chaplain who, with a quick and witty style, digs into relevant and challenging topics. There is a series done by a married couple and another by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs), an Australian named Matt Fradd digs into philosophy in some videos, and you can find others such as “A Guide to Catholic Partying” and “Wait, Marriage Can Be Fun?”
The Thomistic Institute: A little more academic, this channel tries to take the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor of the Church, and make it more accessible. These videos help make sense of a lot of fundamental experiences we have and put them in the context of faith in God.
These three are only the beginning. If one is discerning and careful about focusing on safe Catholic videos, Youtube is a treasure trove of valuable information and inspiring content. And of course I still encourage everyone to check out FORMED, which is Catholic Youtube to the max, filled with many movies, books, podcasts, and other resources (NotreDameNHP.formed.org). As we approach Lent, perhaps trying to cut back on secular media that wastes our time, maybe we turn to positive resources like these for media that lifts our souls to God.
Yours in Christ,
PS. A boy scout is looking to build a shrine by the grotto for his eagle scout project, and we are considering placing a statue of St. Dominic in honor of the Dominican Sisters who have served our parish for so many years. If you would like to join a few others in donating and memorializing the statue, please contact the rectory.