By Emily Koswick
While most of the week the Rev. Michael Carter and the Rev. Lino Oropeza S.S.E are hard at work for the campus ministry of St. Michael’s College, every Wednesday afternoon they scheme about how to reach their audience on the next episode of their new webshow.
On “The Edmundite Show,” a weekly live 30 minute webshow on Youtube hosted by Carter and Oropeza, the priests use laid-back, humorous conversation to discuss the Society of St. Edmund (S.S.E.) and different aspects of the Catholic religion.
This idea for a web show had been cooking in Oropeza’s mind for at least a year prior to their first broadcast in October. He had an interest in technology and computers before becoming a priest, and the idea came from seeing other people making videos on YouTube.
“I thought that that would be a good idea to do what they were doing with technology but with what impassions me, which is my relationship with God and sharing knowledge that I have about God and my religion,” said Oropeza
According to Carter, Oropeza was “really gung-ho” about starting the show. “He was the big inspiration behind it, and his intention, which is my intention too, was to have something different to try out as a way of spreading whatever messages that we would want to do.”
One of the goals of the show was to find a nontraditional way of reaching out to people, especially young people. “It’s not a secret that people are not coming to church anymore, and the churches are getting emptier and emptier every day,” said Oropeza. “The way we do this, we talk about serious stuff in a goofy way.”
On the episode before Thanksgiving, Carter started the broadcast wearing a light-up turkey shaped headband. He also gave Oropeza a set of antennae with fake turkey feathers to wear.“Priests can be relatively normal people, having a conversation, having fun, keeping it light hearted,” said Carter, “To me, that’s the most important thing that we broadcast.”
While the web show is a less traditional way of spreading the Catholic message, Carter and Oropeza’s Edmundite brothers, on and off the campus have high hopes for the effort. According to Carter, some of his colleagues have expressed interest as to how the show is run and have even asked if they could appear as guests.
“Both Lino and Michael are intelligent, energetic and zealous young men, and I expect that their show is and will be a worthwhile use of the media,” said the Rev. Raymond Doherty, S.S.E.
The main hopes for the show’s future revolve around getting viewers to watch live broadcast and to get them more connected and involved with the conversation.
“Something I think would be fun would be having interested people come on as guests so that there could be different perspectives offered,” said Carter.
Both Oropeza and Carter also hope to use YouTube’s chat feature more often during live broadcasts to receive questions, as well as hoping more viewers will leave comments on the videos afterwards.
“Right now, the conversation we have is what we think people might want to know,” said Oropeza. “It’d be cool if people ask questions so we can drive the conversation to that point.”
So far, the response for the show has been encouraging for the duo. According to Oropeza, the channel now has over 30 subscribers and over 900 views across all of their videos.“It’s been a surprise for me, I never thought that we’re gonna be doing this for more than five weeks,” he joked.
Oropeza compared the current state of their channel to the YouTube stars that inspired the show. “If you watch any of these YouTubers that make a living out of YouTube, 30 subscribers is nothing, but we’re just in our fifth week so if we continue to get this attention, we’re gonna get there sometime.”