McNicholas student-produced video on Pacem in Terris a hit [Video]
By John Stegeman
The Catholic Telegraph
More than 300 students from around the Archdiocese of Cincinnati attended a day-long conference entitled “New Hope for the World: Called by Our Faith to Be Peacemakers” at Xavier University on April 18 to celebrate the landmark encyclical Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) by Blessed Pope John XXIII.
See the video below.
Among the day of prayer, speakers and reflections, the students were treated to a video produced by McNicholas High School students that aimed to put Pacem in Terris in perspective for today’s youth.
“The challenges and questions that Blessed John XXIII sought to address with Pacem in Terris” half a century ago are no less relevant and no less urgent today,” a student narrator reads in the video. “In fact from Syria to North Korea, and from Sudan to our own homes and streets, our task to be the peacemakers that God is calling us to be has never been more urgent. ”
With those words and contemporary music as voiceovers, images were shown of war-torn areas overseas, as well as images from the Boston Marathon bombings.
Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth, who teaches religion at McNicholas, oversaw the student-produced video. It was made by seniors Leah Bartel, Rita Beckman, Abby Block, Rachele DeLuca, Courtney Dunne, Kate Gorman, Elise Moeller and Danny Poole, all of whom have taken a Social Justice course.
“Part of the idea was to provide some context for the remarks of our speaker,”Hutchinson-Smyth said. “Pacem in Terris is a long document so we knew every student wouldn’t have read it in entirety so we wanted to offer some glimpses.”
The video includes images of many dark moments in human history, but also of hopeful scenes of prayer and protests for the common good. Hutchinson-Smyth said it was that hope the students tried to convey.
“Not unlike the present moment in which we live, it feels at times we’re surrounded by a lot of conflict and a lot of violence,” Hutchinson-Smyth said. “We certainly saw that (last) week. As Pope, John XXIII drew on Christian hope. He wasn’t unaware of the reality in which we live as humans, but he also wasn’t consigned be it either. We tried to capture some of that spirit of hope that captured John XXIII’s papacy.
The video helps spread the message of Pacem in Terris to a younger audience, one that is highly engaged in the digital world. The video is available at the online video site Vimeo.
“There’s a lot of talk in the archdiocese and across the church nationally and even globally as to what is the role of various media,” Hutchinson-Smyth said. “We have a strong video editing program here at the school and a filmmaking class. How can that be a part of sharing the gospel with the world?
“Youtube can be about cats doing some stupid stuff, but it can be about telling a bigger story too,” he added. “I think that’s part of our challenge too. It’s one thing to say let’s get into the media game, and then we do something low-tech with low production value. That isn’t going to invite young people in anymore than doing nothing at all.”