When the world pandemic canceled his youth ministry, Fr. Ravagnani found a way to reach young people directly.
When the coronavirus bore down on Milan, one of the hardest hit areas of Italy, Father Alberto Ravagnani was forced to postpone his in-person youth outreach efforts, but the 26-year-old priest refused to abandon the young people in his parish. That’s when he turned to YouTube. The result: he’s been able to go far beyond the boundaries of his parish to reach tens of thousands of Italian young people.
Fr. Ravagnani was ordained just two years ago, but he’s already found his footing in youth outreach, having great success in connecting with and teaching young Italians about Catholic spirituality. Fox News reports that he didn’t even have a YouTube channel when the pandemic began, but he moved his ministry to the video format in an effort to continue to provide a rich Catholic education to his teen groups, whom he affectionately refers to as “my kids.”
Fr. Ravagnani’s YouTube videos are edited in the popular style, where the presenter gives rapid information with quick cutaways to the presenter making comedic or dramatic expressions to emphasize his points. The topics of his lessons range broadly to include catechesis, with such titles as “What Does the Holy Spirit Do?” and “The Cross of Jesus: To Die or to Give Life,” while other videos tackle spiritual issues such as the value of prayer or how to determine one’s vocation.
Fr. Ravagnani also touches on Catholic moral and social teaching with titles like “Why Blasting Is Problematic.” He has quite a few videos that help Catholic young adults connect to their spirituality without speaking in explicitly Catholic terms. One video suggests that children turn off their cell phones for an hour each day, while another extols the virtues of manual labor. The young priest even takes on some of the more challenging questions such as “Science and Faith: Who is right?” as well as the idea of believing without seeing.
His series of videos has surged in popularity during the lockdown months, garnering over 76,000 followers and hundreds of thousands of views for his current lineup of 33 lessons. His youthful exuberance and well-timed cutaways are entertaining to watch, even for those who do not speak Italian.