‘Ask the Associate’ videos a hit on YouTube

Father Joshua Barlett, Associate Pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in St. Joseph, has recorded 20 “Ask the Associate Videos” on YouTube. These videos answer questions exploring a variety of questions including Confession, the rosary, and why we have holy days of obligation. (Sara Kraft/ Key Photo)

By Sara Kraft

ST. JOSEPH — In September, Father Christian Malewski, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, challenged his staff to ponder how they as individuals could take a new step forward in evangelization. Recently arrived Associate Pastor Father Joshua Barlett, ordained a priest in 2015, took that challenge to heart. He pondered recording “Ask the Associate” videos for Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Facebook page so parishioners could ask and receive answers for questions about the faith. Fr. Barlett got the idea from former classmate Father Bryan Amthor, Associate Pastor at St. Peter Parish in Kansas City who is also recording videos for his parish. After proposing the idea to Fr. Malewski, Fr. Barlett bought a book and watched some internet videos explaining how to make videos, and jumped into the project.

Since September, Fr. Barlett has produced 20 videos exploring a variety of questions including Confession, the rosary, and why we have holy days of obligation. “All my learning was done on the fly,” explained Fr. Barlett. “I was looking for a new hobby anyway.” Fr. Barlett started recording with an IPad propped up on a music stand and an led light for additional lighting. As the weeks passed, he kept bringing in new equipment for better sound and video quality.

“This has been the work of the Holy Spirit the whole time,” he explained. “I pray when I put each video together that God’s will be done.”

Fr. Barlett’s original audience was intended to be only Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. He began by putting the videos together and simply posting to Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Facebook page. However, word quickly spread throughout the parish about these videos, and parishioners without Facebook accounts wanted to be able to view the content as well. So, the priest put together an “Ask the Associate” YouTube channel.

The YouTube page has quickly spread. The channel has several dioceses across the nation as subscribers.

“The main hope is to get the Gospel message out in a new way. Saint John Paul II said the world needs a new evangelization. Part of that is re-evangelization,” explained Fr. Barlett. He hopes these videos can be rejuvenating for those still in the Church.

It takes Fr. Barlett four to six hours per video to research, script, set a scene, record, edit and post. At first, Our Lady of Guadalupe staff appeared in the videos, but as the project expanded beyond the parish, he decided to just have himself and seminarians from Conception Seminary College appear in the videos to cut down the preparation time from 10 hours per video.

The majority of questions come from someone else. “It’s important to answer what the people want to know, not want direction I want to go in,” explained Fr. Barlett.

“If you look at the statistics, the number of people coming to church is going down. If they aren’t getting the Good News from the pulpit, perhaps they can get it from the computer. I have the means to come into their homes through this invitation,” he said.

To those wondering how they personally can use social media to evangelize, Fr. Barlett encouraged, “First, watch videos (not even necessarily my own). We can’t give what we don’t have. Catechize and evangelize ourselves first. Like it, and share it.”

“By using social media, we are able to insert Catholicism into Facebook and Twitter accounts, perhaps in places you would not expect to see this Good News,” Fr. Barlett said. “People have shared how it has helped deepen their prayer life and relationship with God. The more we know about God, the easier it is to grow in our relationship with God. The two are intimately connected.”

Rebekah Gertsema, mother of four children, has found the videos helpful. “These videos are really informative, especially about little things and the actual rubrics of the Church,” she said. Rebekah and her two oldest sons were received into the Church at Easter 2017. “The knowledge gained by these videos has helped me to be more reverent and to be better able to explain things to my kids, especially my three-year-old son.”

The videos are also reaching parishioners outside of those who are able to attend adult faith formation events at the parish due to family or work obligations.

“The craziest question I received is ‘why do slow people insist on driving in the left lane?’ Notice I haven’t answered that one yet!” Fr. Barlett said.

“This was the pure prompting of the Holy Spirit. I never anticipated this growing. I started with zero experience and gave it a shot,” he explained. “If the Holy Spirit wants to something to succeed, he will make it happen.”

“Be bold. I think a lot of times people hold back in fear of offending. If we truly believe this is the Good News of Christ, we shouldn’t be afraid of offending. We as Catholics need to step up and share our faith especially in this new way of communicating with the world.”

To view Father Barlett’s videos, visit youtube.com and search for “Ask the Associate.”

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  • Fr-Bryan Amthor

    Ask Fr. Amthor has become so popular copy cats are beginning to emerge. Wait to go Fr. Barlett! Congrats on your success. My YouTube channel still has one more subscriber than yours though so you better step up your game.

Tuesday
August 14, 2018
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph