Catholic Indiegogos – The Unfortunate Few

It Is Well - The Movie

Indiegogo is a wonderful concept. Have an idea? Need some money? This website will help you reach donors, offer incentives, collect funds, and communicate your progress. It’s called crowdfunding.

A few Catholic Indiegogo projects have caught my attention:

“It was a total shock.”

That’s how Angela Faddis says she received her diagnosis. Angela and her husband Chris, an inspiring young Catholic couple, began their Indiegogo project to fund the production of a book called It Is Well: Life in the Storm, describing their extraordinary journey since Angela received Stage IV Colon Cancer diagnosis one year ago. (And believe me, it’s been a heck of a story.)

77 people contributed $5,400 toward their $15,000 goal; pray for the Faddis family as they undertake the enormous and generous task of sharing their story of hope with others.

All That Remains is a movie currently in production by Ian & Dominic Higgins (the Mary-loving men behind The 13th Day film on Fatima). This is a project that begun in the belly of Indiegogo, raising nearly $5,000 toward a film about Japanese Catholics affected by Nagasaki’s tragedy, August 1945.

Follow All That Remains blog and Facebook page to get the scoop on the movie’s development.

Hi-freakin’-five to Brandon Vogt and everyone who contributed to his Africa eBook Project, which has raised $8,548 as I write this. Donors have far surpassed Brandon’s initial goal to raise $4,000 towards providing 2,000 CD’s with Catholic ebooks for every seminarian in Cameroon, Africa. Yes: Every seminarian in the entire country!

The Sad News

Try typing “Catholic” into the Indiegogo search bar. You’ll find plenty of projects working against the Catholic Church…all the usual stuff: priests are pedophiles, the Church hates women, the Church is homophobic, and the like.

Unfortunately, many of these projects are well-funded. I guess Hatred, Hurt, and Ignorance have money, too.

Why don’t more of us Catholics start using Indiegogo (and its relatives, like Kickstarter)?

Do you know of a cause I missed? Let me know!

P.S. Honorable Mention goes to Five Blocks Away, the movie being made by St. Catherine of Siena Catholic parish in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, thanks to crowdfunding.

Holy Rock Band, Señor Batmán! Priests and laymen of La Voz del Desierto

La Voz del Desierto performing "Getsemaní"

Up until this week, the famous Spanish Catholics on my radar were St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Josemaria Escriva, etc. Now, I’ve got some rock stars on that list.

Rome Reports introduced me to La Voz del Desierto (roughly: The Voice in the Desert). The band includes three priests and four laymen. If you attended World Youth Day in Madrid, you may have seen them performing several concerts. They hail from the Diocese of Alcalá de Henares – more specifically, from the diocesan seminary!

The band’s latest album, “La Llamada” (The Calling), includes “Getsemaní” (Gethsemane) – watch the music video here. I got the chills about midway through, when Jesus’ prayer to His Father is sung. You’ve gotta listen to the addictive chorus of “Absalón” (Absalom) and sick guitar solo – music video here.

Kinda makes you wonder…why doesn’t every seminary have a rock band?

¡Viva priestly vocations!

P.S. Their diocese’s Office of Youth and Young Adults has a killer YouTube channel. Gotta love that new media usage! Check it out.

Rad Catholic videos you’ve never seen (but wish you had) by a German-speaking priest

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For years, my YouTube channel has quietly been subscribed to one of the most talented Catholic video guys on the planet: Fr. Johannes M. Schwarz. He says he’s “not professional,” just enjoys it. This hobby of his, however, has gained my attention.

Many of Father’s videos are in German, since he lives in Liechtenstein (you know, that super-tiny country near Switzerland and Austria?), but there are some goodies in English, too. I’ll feature both types in this post.

Check out his YouTube channel, which is a piggy bank of pop culture spoofs. Some highlights:

Father Johannes has released a DVD on the Mass and, while in German, I still enjoyed poking through it. (But I hear it’s a masterpiece.) Can you believe…it begins with a priest talking about beer? Check it out here.

Another fun German project is Mein Gott und Walter – a series of videos created as a course on Catholic theology and philosophy. Here’s a “darth” taste. (You can find more on his Vimeo channel.)

Currently, Father is working with a Greek animator to produce a 300-minute Catholic catechism – Oh Mein Gott, to be released in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and Polish. To me, this looks like a barrel of fun. Here’s a German clip:

How blessed are we to have priests around the world, using their talents for God’s glory? I’ve already spotlighted Fr. Stan Fortuna, CFR, Fr. Rob Galea and Fr. Stephen Cuyos, MSC on this blog. Do you know any other priests ‘under-the-radar’ who have big talents?

Parish site inspiration – Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, CA

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This can’t be a parish website…it’s too hip-looking.

You’ve probably never thought that before! Well, I did once I saw Church of the Good Shepherd‘s website, designed by – brace yourself – a Catholic deacon!

The website’s flasher-than-usual, magazine style may not fit most parishes, but I have a hunch that it’s just right for a Beverly Hills church. That’s one little-discussed issue in parish website design: What is our parish story? What’s our unique character? Every business or organization that goes about the web design process correctly will have asked these questions about themselves.

Points of inspiration:

  • Magazine Layout – Already noted above, but worthy of a bullet point. If you’re going to choose this for your parish, make sure it fits your parish character and you have an outstanding web designer to make it work well.
  • Powered by WordPress – Enables easy search, commenting, posting weekly news, etc.
  • Parish blog – An easy way to highlight weekly announcements and bulletin notes is to transfer them into blog format. They lend themselves to that format.
  • What We’re Reading – This sidebar is usually found in blogs. But hey, why not add it to a parish site? If it works, it adds a level of depth to parish staff’s personalities. (They’re not just robots who live at the church.) Plus, highlighting books creates an opportunity for catechesis or evangelization: easily and painlessly recommend relevant resources.
  • Super-social footer – The site footer contains everything social: Facebook widget, Twitter and Foursquare links, highlighting an upcoming parish podcast, a link to the latest from several Catholic blogs, etc. If you put in the time to creating a parish Facebook, Twitter, etc., highlight it on your website! Social media – when properly highlighted – can add years to your parish’s aging, wrinkled Catholic appearance.

Congratulations to Church of the Good Shepherd for their willingness to take chances with this unique, unconventional parish website. It definitely says, “new evangelization.”

Stay tuned for more inspirational parish sites!

Stunning spoken word – “Crucifixion Type Love”

still shot from "Crucifixion Type Love"

Wondering what women want? Weaving Scripture and salvation history with contemporary experience, Brent Rice gives a breathtaking spoken word performance in this video. His words are an inspiration and challenge to me, especially a newlywed.

Every time I hug her,
I want my arms to be spread out on the cross
And I wanna die to my childish ways.
Every time I look into her eyes,
I want a crown of thorns to be placed upon my head
So that I will surrender my thought life to her honor.

(Hat tip to Tom Shakely for sharing this.)