Alessandro De Carolis – Vatican City
Trying to describe how 9 chapters and 299 paragraphs are changing your life might seem to be an insurmountable undertaking for a digital native who is used to expressing the intricacies of his or her emotions with a “smiley” and of sharing an opinion with the rapidity of a tweet. That’s exactly where the spark exploded – putting together the force of the Pope’s words with a multi-medial “vocation” of his audience. That’s how the 9 chapters and 299 paragraphs of the Apostolic Exhortation Christus vivit, written by Pope Francis after the Synod in 2018, were condensed into 26 thematic episodes. Each one was entrusted to a young man or woman of various nationalities with the goal of demonstrating what effects those words are having on their life. Here lies the novelty: to create a narrative not using paper, but “frames”, constructed by a series of video-testimonials about one minute each. Thus a project was born and developed by two Dicasteries – for Laity, Family and Life, and for Communication. The video published on this page introduces the project, and is representative of its style.
From now until December, every Tuesday and Thursday, two brief videos will be published. Sent from young people, the impressions that they will communicate will from time to time be like pieces of a mosaic that will construct an image of the world in the end – the world of the millennials and others close to their age who grapple with the questions of faith and the challenge with which Pope Francis began the Apostolic Exhortation: “Christ is alive!” and “he wants you to be alive!”.
The primacy of the heart
Even Cardinal Kevin Farrell, President of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, chose the same format as the young people – a short video reflection – to launch the initiative. He also emphasized a conviction, using the words of St Paul: “You yourselves”, he says to young people, “are the letter written in your hearts by the Spirit of God. It is not so much what is written on paper that convinces someone to follow Jesus, but what has been written on each of our hearts”.
The key word given to the young people involved in the project was: freedom. It was accompanied by no restriction regarding “how” they were to tell their stories. They were requested to creatively unpack, through their own life experience, the Pope’s reflection matured after October 2018. Therefore, there has been no post-creation stage editing on the part of “Vatican News” to visually improve the various contributions that arrived from all over the world. Rather, each portrays the artistic sensitivity and talent of each young person. The proof lies in each video making up the series: from those that are more or less refined, to those created with the videographer’s talent, to those filmed without particular frills, but only for the pleasure of making a contribution and sharing their thought.
“Christ is alive”
Creative license and spontaneity… What counts about the Christus vivit project is the common denominator coming from the words of the young men and women. “Christ is alive”, each of them says in different ways. This is a hope, a dream, a motivation. It is to be, as Pope Francis would say, “the now of God”.