Witnessing to a wide web world Print
Year of Faith
Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

By Lindsay Becher

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As the faithful enter this Year of Faith, they will be called to give witness to their faith more and more. In Porta Fidei, Pope Benedict wrote, “faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy.”

In a time when the virality of a message and success in communications is often measured by the number of views a video gets on YouTube and how many times an article is shared on Facebook, it makes sense that Catholics would feel like their message and witness is not easily or rapidly spread through the world today.

While individuals may not experience social media fame and reach, Catholics have a certain advantage. A two-minute online video has the potential to make someone (or millions) laugh, but that joy is limited. A personal encounter with a Catholic who desires to increase their knowledge of the faith and joyfully lives it has the potential to change other lives.

This deep knowledge and joyful witness found in the lives of believers is at the heart of this Year of Faith. This will encourage those who have fallen away from the practice of the Catholic faith to come back home. It could prompt one who never has to enter the door of faith for the first time.

Most Catholics will be called to do this through ordinary means — in the home, the workplace, and the community. However, as this Year of Faith begins, a number of the faithful in the Madison Diocese will have the opportunity to sit down in front of a camera and give witness to what it is that they believe. This footage will then be transformed by a duo of faithful, professional Catholic filmmakers who make their stories look so good that they are worthy of going viral.

Backflip Films, run by John Shoemaker and Ryan Freng, has begun producing, in collaboration with the diocesan staff, a series of short films dedicated to teaching and giving witness to true beauty and the joy found in the practice of the faith.

This first film documents the stories of Scott Jablonski, a diocesan seminarian; Carol Szymanski, mom and former art teacher; and Msgr. Jim Bartylla, vicar general. Their witness to the faith is blended with an introduction to the Year of Faith, provided by Fr. Chad Droessler, parochial vicar at St. Maria Goretti in Madison. It is the hope that the faithful would help with infiltrating the social media world on Facebook, Twitter, and beyond with these films full of good, Catholic witness during this year.

You can view these great films, debuting about once a month during this Year of Faith, and stay connected with all other Year of Faith social media resources through the Web site: www.yearoffaith Catechetical tools are also made available to further the study of the topics covered in the films.

If you would like to be a part of producing these films through financial support, please e-mail Brent King, director of communications, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Lindsay Becher is the coordinator of youth and young adult ministry for the Diocese of Madison.