Vancouver – Thousands have seen his videos about saints, yoga and wearing one’s Sunday best. Now, the priest of Ask Fr. Nick is back at it again — this time, taking questions about Lent.

Published in Features
VANCOUVER – Another young priest is spreading the Gospel on YouTube.
Published in Features

VATICAN CITY – In an effort to share its masterpieces with even more people around the world, the Vatican Museums has established a YouTube channel and revamped its website to offer high-resolution images and mobile-friendly information.

Published in Vatican
October 12, 2012

Evangelization by video

I’ve been creating short promotional and comedic videos for about seven years now. Some of my work is on YouTube, and I was quite proud when I saw one video recently reached more than 1,000 views and had garnered a few “likes.” But this feat turned out to be quite a joke in the wake of the recent announcement by Guinness World Records regarding the music video Gangnam Style by Korean artist PSY.

Gangnam Style is a phrase referring to the lavish lifestyle of people in a district of Seoul, South Korea. Filled with poppy colours and lavish cinematography, the video features PSY’s signature horse-riding dance move in various places such as a beach, a parkade and a spa. It portrays the Gangnam lifestyle as total fun and extravagance.

On Sept. 22, this K-Pop video became the most “liked” video in YouTube’s history. Of the 330 million views it has received, 3.2 million people felt inclined to hit the “thumbs up” button because of its emotional effect. Clicking “like” may not be a difficult task, but the fact that so many people agreed to like the same four-minute video is remarkable. I believe it is an interesting case study for us Catholics. If we had a flashy music video promoting Catholicism that three million people liked, it could be a huge tool for evangelization. Can or should we try to replicate such a feat?

In his TED talk about viral videos, Kevin Allocca, the trends manager at YouTube, said that videos go viral based on tastemakers, communities of participation and unexpectedness. Tastemakers are influential people who take a point of view on a particular video and share that with a larger audience. So in PSY’s case, American rapper T-Pain tweeted about the video on July 29, and it took off from there. More and more celebrities and media outlets informed the public (community of participation) of its existence until it became a global dance phenomenon. And Gangnam Style definitely fills the criteria of an unexpected video with its random locations and abnormal activities.

Imagine a Catholic music video equivalent promoting the Pope, the Eucharist and our Blessed Mother. Would it take off? Perhaps, if it were unique enough and if a celebrity decided to mention it on his or her Twitter feed. But viral videos are a fad and will only stay popular for a certain period of time. Just think of Double Rainbow by Paul Vasquez or Rebecca Black’s Friday. Sure they were uber-popular for a while, but ultimately were replaced by the likes of Gangnam Style. And such will be the case for each viral video. The novelty eventually wears off.

So having a video alone will not evangelize; we need to have people reach deeper into their sometimesunacknowledged desire for faith and become enamoured with the love of God. However, getting the masses interested in the faith through something like a unique video is a good way to start. Since Gangnam Style went viral, millions of people all over the world have been introduced to Korean pop culture. And maybe, with a bit of creativity and effort, the world could also be introduced to and find it in their hearts to “like” some Catholic Style.

(Boston, 24, is a third-year fine arts and drama student at the University of Calgary.)

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

What started with a simple request from her parish priest has made singer Kelley Mooney a YouTube hit garnering more than 426,000 views with her new rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

“We were at Easter Mass in our own parish in Iona, P.E.I., and I had sung a song that ended with the word Hallelujah being repeated,” Mooney told The Catholic Register.  “After Mass, our parish priest asked if I would sing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah.’ ”

Promising that she would, she looked up the lyrics. But to her dismay, she found that Cohen’s lyrics were not appropriate for Mass.

Published in Arts News

Beamsville, Ont.'s St. John Catholic Elementary School is one of 12 schools from across the country that will enhance its technological capabilities thanks to a $20,000 grant from Best Buy Canada.

The money will be used to upgrade outdated technology at the school in the small town located just west of St. Catharines, Ont.

"We are very excited and we think it is going to be very beneficial to our students," said Michael Maiorano, Grade 5 teacher at St. John. "Technology is always going out and you always need new technology and we think that is beneficial to our students."

Published in Education

TORONTO - For a generation wired to the Internet via smartphones and laptops, the Gospel can easily be forgotten in the information overload. To prevent this, the Catholic Chaplaincy at York University (CCY) started To the Top, a web series of Catholic videos for youth.

“Many young people are spending many hours in front of their computers,” said Joseph Zambon, 25, CCY pastoral assistant and cast member of To the Top. “We, the Church, need to break into these places and make sure that young people are hearing the Gospel message. Otherwise, they will be swept away into a secular culture.” 

Launched in fall, To the Top was founded by Dwayne Santos, 21, a concurrent education student at York, as a way to educate both Catholics and non-Catholics about the faith.

Published in Youth Speak News