Spiritans go tubing

By  Sara Loftson, The Catholic Register
  • January 5, 2007

youtubeTORONTO - Some religious communities are turning to the latest technology to help promote vocations.

Fr. Paul McAuley, C.S.Sp., decided to post some videos about TransCanada Province of the Spiritans on YouTube after reading about it in the news recently.

"I thought it might be a way for the church to reach young people perhaps," said McAuley, the religious order's 47-year-old web site designer.

YouTube is a free video-sharing web site (www.youtube.com) which lets users upload, view and share video clips, music videos and amateur content such as videoblogging.

Americans Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim founded YouTube in 2005. The next year, TIME magazine named it "Invention of the Year" and subsequently Google Inc., purchased the company for $1.65 billion (U.S.) in November.

According to the YouTube web site, 100 million videos are viewed per day, with more than 65,000 videos being added daily.

McAuley has posted three videos: a 40-second commercial about the Spiritans and two videos about a member of the Spiritan order, Blessed Jacques Laval, also known as the Apostle of Mauritius.

After a month on YouTube the videos were viewed about 350 times. McAuley said these postings were just a trial run and he's not surprised by the limited amount of hits.

"I'm hoping when I get time that our congregation will be able to upload (videos) regularly, a weekly homily or something like that," he said.

In Canada the Spiritans have 50 priests averaging above 65 years of age, said McAuley.

In the past four years several Canadian seminarians have discerned religious life with the Spiritans, but currently there is only one seminarian studying at Saint Paul University in Ottawa.

A quick web search on YouTube shows there is limited Catholic content on the site. The Spiritans are among the few, possibly the only religious order from Canada to post vocations-related items on YouTube. However, numerous religious orders and dioceses in the United States have caught onto this trend.

While McAuley doesn't expect young people to search out vocations' sites, having an account on YouTube gives a link to the order's official web site, which has helped to field inquires.

"It's just to invite young people. They might stumble across it and it just might make them think for a moment about the church and their faith," said McAuley.

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