Catechists on YouTube?

A recent innovation on the Internet is the popularity of Catholic video podcasts (a.k.a. vodcasts) that show up on YouTube and other media as a means to spread the faith. For example, Philadelphia’s archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali used YouTube during Lent to provide brief video reflections on the gospels and recieved thousands of hits (visits).

I’m wondering about how catechists might be able to use YouTube to reach those we teach, not in place of teaching in person, but as a complement to it. Might catechists offer a brief reflection each week? A few practical suggestions for how to live the lesson taught that week? A brief summary of the lesson taught or a brief preview of the upcoming lesson? A question to ponder for the upcoming session?

I also wonder about legal issues and safe environment issues. What would catechists need to be most aware of in these areas to ensure that children are protected? What oversight do the DRE and pastor need to have? Catechists are agents of the parish community, not independent practicioners.  What ramifications might this have on the extent to which a catechist can “teach” through YouTube?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue that I find truly fascinating and filled with potential.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at


  1. Joe,

    Two key words, oversight and potential.
    Potential should be guarded by a very organized oversight team from the Pastor and the DRE.
    I understand the changing of technology and how we communicate with each other, as in this e-mail on a BLOG.
    The potential to reach our students is immense, however there needs to be a true plan and determination as to who can create WEB based information and who can place the subject on-line to our children.
    We need to respect the age and level of understanding of the receiver of the You Tube content.
    A very sticky situation to say the least.
    Let’s begin with a simple example: is there a problem and how will this help?
    I am a firm beleiver that classroom dialogue is the place where we do our best. Offering a SECONDARY dialogue is a great idea and should be considered to the students as a complimentary way to seek the WORD and learn our Faith.

    More Later (good topic)

    Joe D.

  2. Thanks, Joe, for your insightful and helpful comments. I think that oversight will be key.

    I also think that another advantage YouTube segments can offer is for the catechist who has a difficult class and wants to reinforce the message he or she is teaching without the distractions and interruptions that may be happening in class. It also helps the student who really wants to care but is being distracted by his or her peers. Paradoxically, the YouTube message may sometimes be more “direct” than the “live” message which sometimes can get lost in the hub-bub of classroom activity and children’s erratic behaviors.

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