EWTN’s new show follows Catholic speaker Justin Fatica as he and his ministry team travel across the United States empowering youth to overcome their personal struggles. Photo courtesy of EWTN

EWTN premieres new show to inspire youth

By  Robert Adragna, Youth Speak News
  • September 4, 2015

The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) added some youthful energy to its fall lineup with the premiere of its new show You’re Amazing with Justin Fatica.

This new reality-style TV show features a group of Christian youth ministers travelling across the United States to help young people overcome their personal anxieties and weaknesses by developing a personal connection with Jesus Christ. They are led by Justin Fatica, a charismatic and downto- earth Catholic speaker, and his producer Jeremy Rivera.

“What we’re going to do, we’re going to save some souls tonight,” proclaims Fatica as he addresses a live studio audience in a Q&A prior to the show’s premiere. With his animated Rocky Balboa-esque style of speech, Fatica’s overwhelming passion was apparent as he outlined the fundamental premise of the show’s evangelistic message: the inherent “amazingness” of every one of God’s children.

Fatica begins this process, ironically, by emphasizing an individual’s weaknesses. However, weakness is not shamed on You’re Amazing. It is shared with groups of supportive peers. In the pilot episode that premiered on EWTN on Sept. 3, Fatica brings youth onstage to emotionally delve into their deepest personal struggles.

“You’ve been lonely, you’ve been left, you have anxiety. Don’t run from it. We all have our challenges,” said Fatica.

This process of empathy-building helps youth understand that despite their flaws, they are still appreciated by their community not for things they have done, but for who they fundamentally are as children of God. It also helps youth realize that they are not alone in their struggles. As Fatica says, “being broken isn’t some type of disease. We all need healing daily from Christ.”

Fatica knows all too well about the obscuring potential of being broken. As a teenager, he was the consummate delinquent — making life miserable for his teachers, taking drugs and engaging in pre-marital sex.

“On the outside, I looked like a jerk,” he said. “But on the inside, I felt bad. I wanted to change.”

The catalyst for this change occurred when a high school teacher invited him to a weekend eucharistic retreat. Here, Fatica both fully confessed his sins and prayed deeply for the first time in his life. He was so profoundly impacted by his experience that he devoted his life to helping youth reach similar revelations.

In 2002, he launched the Hard as Nails Apostolate, which involves him and his team of youth ministers travelling across the country giving presentations to schools, parishes and communities and helping youth develop a personal connection with Jesus. Much of the work done with You’re Amazing is taken directly from Hard as Nails.

Fatica’s methods are definitely unconventional compared to typical Catholic preaching. His style is very aggressive, characterized by brutal honesty about topics most others would shy away from.

However, there is no doubt that he is authentic in everything he does and that allows a strong connection with the realities of today’s youth. He has travelled to 247 cities and touched 1.2 million people through his work with Hard as Nails, and is often received with standing ovations.

Regardless of style, living the mentality of You’re Amazing is one of the most important things we can do to support ourselves and our communities in better living our Catholic values. When we realize that we’re amazing, we also become amazing and develop the capacity to truly love our neighbour.

As Fatica says, “If everyone knew how amazing they were they can’t sin because when we know who we are we can’t sin because we matter.”

You can catch You’re Amazing with Justin Fatica on Thursdays at 10 p.m. on EWTN.

(Adragna, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Bishop Allen Academy in Toronto, Ont.)

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