Ashes to Palms is a video series freely distributed to Catholics around the world during the season of Lent. This Lent, it will be seen on various social media, Catholic television and internet channels, as well as on archtoronto.org and our archdicocesan social media channels.
In total there are 32 videos which will be released on weekdays during Lent each with an approximate runtime of one minute. While the topics of each video range from insightful theological points to encouragement for one's Lenten observance, all are meant to meet the baptized wherever they are at in the spiritual life.
The length, the topic, as well as the 'feel' of the videos were all carefully prepared to help pastors and leaders in the Church to assist the people under their care; and it is the hope of all Evango team members that this happens.
Below, Patrick Sullivan, host of Ashes to Palms, shares more about the series.
What gave you the idea to create a series like this? How does it relate to evangelization?
Our ministry focuses on the baptized, whether they have been raised in the faith or not and whether they are "churched" or not. So creating something that can not only remind them of the season of the Church but can call them lovingly into the drama of the season, seemed like quite an opportunity to evangelize. We just had to take it.
There seems to be a deliberate effort to keep each episode short. What is the reason for that?
We are not only in a digital age but we are in an age when we have little time to make an impression. We wanted the series to obliterate any excuses we tend to set for ourselves as to why we cannot engage with the world spiritually. Ashes to Palms is beautifully presented using some of the best of modern media and it's short. It is that combination, we hope, that will encourage those who might not normally do so to watch something about faith.
If you could describe what you and the Evango team are hoping to do with the series in one word, which word would you choose?
Inspire. At Evango, we are trying to inspire people to take steps in the Faith no matter how small those steps are. And for those who are already taking steps, we want to inspire them to go out and evangelize. This video series is in line with that thinking.
What is it about this series do you think that will help it to stand apart from similar projects?
There are very good, Catholic, seasonal video projects out there. And they all offer something valuable. I believe Ashes to Palms offers the hope and inspiration that people need in a way that is both visually compelling and down to earth.
How did you come up with the content? You do not use the Scripture passages from the Church's liturgy to guide your reflections, so what was your 'springboard?'
Those around me, the brokenhearted, family and friends over the years who struggled with their Lenten promises.
We know that your family has always been a source of inspiration for you and in your evangelizing work. Do your children or wife make it into any of the episodes?
It is not unusual for audience members at a retreat or conference to know my family members and their names. In the series, we find a few spots where it seemed very appropriate to film this child or that one. I wonder if our friends around the world will be able to spot them.
What comes after Lent? Is there another video project we can look forward to?
Two actually. We are just finishing up our video course on Mary, as well as a parenting video program called, Me and My House. We are excited for what both projects can do for the baptized. We think you'll love it.