By Tim Bishop
WHEELING—Bob Perron, executive director of the diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, said his office recently conducted a survey that shows its Video Catechism for Teens (VCat) program is a big hit with Catholic youth not only in the Mountain State, but also across the country.
VCat is a series of videos produced to teach youth about the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the beauty of the Catholic faith done in new and relevant ways. Perron said the videos use cultural analogies, creativity and humor and always try to answer the question, why should a teenager care about this? He said the videos always drive home a point articulated by the Catechism. A discussion guide for catechetical leaders, teachers and youth ministers, as well as a family discussion guide accompany each of the online videos.
Perron said the results of a recent survey show that over the last 20 months, more than 500,000 films have been watched nationally. Perron said that is more than 25,000 views per month or 833 per day. He added that 49,000 videos have been viewed in West Virginia alone, reaching more than 80 people per day.
“The idea behind the project was—especially in a diocese that is geographically spread out—to find ways in small parishes to be able to have an impact,” Perron said, “so we thought the video Catechism was a great way to help those parishes. It is one more tool they have to evangelize their young people. We knew it would have a much larger impact because anyone with a computer can enjoy what we are doing. We had no idea it was going to be such a big hit. I can’t think of any other youth sites that are getting that many hits. It is truly something we should be very proud of as a diocese.”
In the survey, Perron said that parish leaders responded that they use the VCat videos as a teaching tool in their PSR and confirmation classes on a regular basis. “I have used the videos in the classroom and plan to use more next school year and for our confirmation classes and youth group. The students like them and listen to the message and the discussion questions are great,” said Colleen Driscoll, Catechetical teacher at All Saints Parish in Bridgeport. Beth Brumley from Holy Trinity Parish in Nitro said, “we use them as our youth group focus, especially when we have one that goes great with the readings or liturgical season.”
There are still two years left in the VCat program. Perron said he is very excited about the next two years. “Stay tuned,” he said. “When we are finished, we will have covered the entire four sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and young people will have a reference that I think will be valuable for years to come. I see several million hits in the future.”
The complete VCat series is available online at www.vcat.org.