When I declined their offer to fly me to Denver for a filming session, they countered with the offer to hire a videographer here in Cincinnati, and to fly Sarah from Denver to Milford to ask me a few questions.
October last I had welcomed Father John Lager to St. Andrew for the weekend. He is the national chaplain of FOCUS – Fellowship of Catholic University Students – which is a national outreach that meets college students where they are and invites them into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith.
I met Sarah for the first time at the parish church from which I had retired just three months ago. She had flown in the night before and had stayed overnight with a college friend who just had a new baby – a happy dovetailing moment. After a quick hello and how-do-you-do with Sarah, as the camera man set up his equipment, I made some notes for myself:
staff: flexible and efficient
Father John: not money, not self-promoting
takes a Church to be present to college Catholics
focus on Jesus, being catholic
parishioners, children, grandchildren
Under the lights, as the camera pointed at me over Sarah’s left shoulder, with a couple reminders – “Look at me, not the camera; keep your hands away from your face and not between you and the camera; repeat my question in your answer” – and after a few stutter starts and clumsy moments, the conversation turned easy.
When Sarah and the videographer were satisfied, he packed up his equipment and handed Sarah a flash drive with everything on it that she needed to fly back feeling accomplished.
Would I recommend to a brother priest/pastor that he welcome a FOCUS priest to preach and speak at all the Masses some weekend? Why wouldn’t they want a visit? It was truly an evangelizing moment and an “en-courage-ing” moment for our parishioners. It definitely was not a fundraising venture and was not an inordinate self-promotion event. It was a positive event for our parishioners, for they heard that, yes, the Catholic Church can and does do something for Catholic students on campus, that is, for their children and grandchildren.
After lunch with Sarah, and sending her off toward the airport for an evening flight back to Denver, I was left with only one question: of all that was recorded, what of me will be included in the final promotional video; what will my fifteen seconds of fame, perhaps better, my “fifteen seconds of FOCUS” look like?