They say that when you sing, you pray twice. I say when you show students a video, you teach twice—sometimes for half the work. Of course it has to be a good video, and those can be hard to find. Nevertheless, I recently found an excellent online resource loaded with good videos. It is called Catholics & Cultures. It is an initiative of the Center for Religion, Ethis, and Culture at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. They have an excellent YouTube channel loaded with videos of liturgy and devotions from Catholics around the world; not only Roman Catholics, but Eastern Catholics as well.
These videos are indispensable for instilling in students a true sense of the universality of the Church. It is far too easy to become insular in our thinking, casually assuming that our own local form of Catholicism is really everything. But the true beauty of the Church shines forth in its marvelous diversity.
In fact, this does not relativize or negate the meaning of my own local Catholicism but rather deepens it. The Church is universal because it is a myriad of particular, local forms that all celebrate the one unchanging truth that God became man in Jesus Christ.
So take a look at these videos and see what sparks your interest. How about Syro-Malabar Catholics handing out sweet treats during a St. Sebastian procession? French Roman Catholics praying with their archbishop in front of two saint statues while standing in seawater? Spanish penitents wearing pointy red hoods and shuffling along with chains and shackles on their feet? Strange stuff, to be sure, but all the more interesting for it.
Do you have any other great YouTube channels to share? Let us know in the comments. Thanks!