More than 1600 years ago, a proud, brilliant young man who thought he had everything realized he had nothing. He had friends, women, wealth and prestige, and still his heart was restless … because he didn’t have God.
That man, Augustine of Hippo, a pagan who became one of the Church’s greatest saints, said, “O Lord, our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.”
That spiritual restlessness still afflicts young people today in an age when we look to worldly pleasures and pursuits to satisfy a longing that only God can satisfy, says Father Joseph Gill of the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, who with a group of young adults developed a podcast and video series titled “Restless” to bring them closer to God and explore issues that touch their lives in modern society.
“We are reaching out to young people through podcasts and videos because this is their language,” Father Gill said.
The Restless project was made possible by a St. John Paul II Fund grant from Foundations in Faith, which is supported by the We Stand With Christ capital campaign. Restless will be broadcast on Veritas Catholic Network at WNLK-AM 1350 radio and be made available as a podcast at www.veritascatholic.com.
Father Gill will moderate discussions with three young people from Stamford and Greenwich — Lauren Doyle, Diane Kremheller and Javier Tremaria — as they explore such topics as evangelizing in the workplace and navigating the single life with an eye toward marriage. The show is expected to begin airing this October.
=The Restless podcast is being recorded every Tuesday night at a studio Veritas set up in the basement at St. John’s. When Father Gill first arrived at the Basilica a year and a half ago, he had an idea to start a podcast and spoke to Kremheller, a co-founder of Catholic Adventures Stamford, a group for young adults in their 20s and 30s who have an interest in “building community and fellowship” with other Catholic young adults.
“People have had a lot of spare time on their hands during the shutdown, and they are using podcasts to get spiritual nourishment,” he said.
Themes they will explore include Catholics in political life, Catholic dating, how to read the Bible, Christian friendship and incorporating faith into sports.
Father, who acts as moderator, said of his three colleagues, “They are definitely devout, and more than that, they are articulate about their faith and not afraid to share. They are also very ‘normal’ with real struggles and real joys. They work in the secular world and are respected and well-liked by everybody.”
The Restless project is intended to help young adults on their faith journey.
=“It could be one avenue through which the Gospel reaches souls,” he said. “And it is meant for those young adult Catholics who want to go deeper into their faith. A lot of faithful young people feel isolated because there are not too many young adult groups in the area.
The podcasts, which will be 30 minutes long, will be available on Veritas and Spotify, a global digital music, podcast and video streaming service.
Steve Lee, President and CEO of Veritas, said he is excited about the new show, particularly at a time when young people are moving away from organized religion.
“Young adults are leaving the Church, and they don’t even understand what they’re leaving and why,” he said. “I met the young adults Father is working with and heard them do a mock show, and I was very impressed.”
The Restless video series has as its goal to produce faith-filled artistic expression. “People are attracted to God through beauty, truth and goodness,” Father said. “And we are looking at the way of beauty.”
He cited the example of Bishop Robert Barron’s series on Catholicism, which he said people watch over and over because of its profound message and captivating cinematography. Rather than having “talking heads,” Restless will feature different speakers and stunning video. A young volunteer who is accomplished in videography is editing the series, which will explore topics such as devotion to the Blessed Mother, the importance of confession and the meaning of life.
“It is meant for people who are seekers, people who are hungry and thirsty and want to dip their toe into Catholicism,” Father said. “My hope is that it will be used in Confirmation classes and CCD.
The videos will be uploaded to YouTube. In addition, Shalom World TV, a 24-hour television channel that broadcasts Catholic programs, has expressed interest in using the series. The 20 videos, which will be five to seven minutes long, are expected to be completed by spring and begin airing once a week in May.
Kelly Weldon, Director of Foundations in Faith, which approved a grant for the project from the St. John Paul II Fund for Religious Education, Youth Ministry and Faith Formation, said, “It is really a great project, and we are super excited about it.”
“I came to Foundations in Faith with a deep passion for giving young people the opportunity to really use their voice to create positive change, and Bishop Caggiano shares that interest,” Weldon said. “And there’s no better way to engage them than letting them design the program they’re participating in. Our young people know what they need. We seldom ask them what they want. This project is an excellent example of how as a community we can learn from our young people.”