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Detroit Archdiocese’s video team chosen to produce Pope Francis’ July prayer intention

A woman visits a homebound relative in the Detroit Archdiocese in this still frame from Pope Francis’ video prayer intention for July. The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network invited the archdiocese’s Department of Communications and its video team to collaborate on the video. Every month, the network posts a short video of the pope asking the universal church to pray for a particular intention. For July, the pope’s intention is “For a Eucharistic life.” The video message is available both in English and in Spanish. (OSV News photo/courtesy Archdiocese of Detroit)

By Daniel Meloy

DETROIT (OSV News) — The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network has a Detroit flair for July.

The Archdiocese of Detroit’s Department of Communications was tapped by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network — the apostolate that produces and distributes monthly videos of Pope Francis’ prayer intentions on Vatican media channels — to produce a two-minute video on the pope’s July prayer intention.

Every month, the network posts a short video of the pope asking the universal church to pray for a particular intention. For July, the pope’s intention is “For a Eucharistic Life.”

“Let us pray that Catholics place at the center of their lives the Eucharistic celebration, which transforms human relationships profoundly and opens up an encounter with God and their brothers and sisters,” the pope says.

“The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network sometimes produces the video in house and sometimes reaches out to another organization to have it produced,” Emily Mentock, associate director of strategy for the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Department of Communications, told Detroit Catholic, the archdiocesan news outlet. “We were blessed to do it for the month of July, which has the theme of the Eucharist.”

The Pope Video, a global initiative of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, produces the monthly videos, which are then translated into 23 languages and promoted in 114 countries worldwide. Since 2016, The Pope Video has received more than 201 million views across the Vatican’s social networks.

It’s significant that a U.S. diocese was asked to produce a video on the Eucharist, given that the U.S. Catholic Church is in the midst of a National Eucharistic Revival, leading up to the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis July 17-21, 2024.

“We are deeply grateful for this opportunity to support our Holy Father and The Pope Video initiative,” Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron said in a statement. “In particular, we are honored to produce this video on the Eucharist. The timing is providential, as our archdiocese and all dioceses in the United States are engaged in a Eucharistic revival to restore understanding and devotion to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.”

The Archdiocese of Detroit’s Department of Communications has recently been recognized for its efforts in promoting Eucharistic devotion with its “I AM HERE” campaign, which won multiple awards during the 2023 Catholic Media Conference in Baltimore in June, including the Father John Catoir Social Media Evangelization Award for best use of social media in the service of the Gospel. The winning campaign can be viewed at www.iamhere.org.

The archdiocese’s video team also recently claimed two Michigan Emmys for videos about retiring Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Donald F. Hanchon and the archdiocese’s “Walking With Moms in Need” initiative.

Members of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communications saw the “I AM HERE” campaign video, which played a role in the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network reaching out to the Archdiocese of Detroit to produce the pope’s July prayer intention video, Mentock said.

“I think because of the good work our team did with the first video we produced to launch the campaign, we were invited to participate to support Pope Francis in this way,” Mentock said. “We were invited to select which intention we would like to support, and when we saw there was one to increase devotion to the Eucharist, we thought that was the perfect fit, given everything that we are working on as part of the National Eucharistic Revival.”

The video begins with Pope Francis saying, “If you were the same at the end of Mass as you were at the beginning, something is wrong.” As the pope speaks, the two-minute prayer intention video features three intertwining storylines of parishioners at Christ the King Parish in Detroit receiving the Eucharist and going out into the world to meet other people.

A key point in Pope Francis’ message is that the Eucharist is food for the faithful so they can go out to encounter Christ in other people, said Andrew Kleczek, art director and senior video producer for the Archdiocese of Detroit.

“If you have ever seen one of the pope’s intention videos, they have a certain Italian flair to them, so we hopefully have brought a little Detroit flair to the process,” Kleczek said. “We started out with an idea of more adoration. But when I realized what the pope was saying about being a community when receiving the Eucharist, we had to change the storyline.”

The video shows three people receiving the Eucharist at Mass, and then going out to encounter various people in the community, including an elderly relative, a homeless person, and a homebound senior who receives the Eucharist from an extraordinary minister of holy Communion.

The idea behind the images is that the Eucharist is the fuel of continued discipleship, Kleczek said.

“It’s not intended to portray people as inspired to do these things after going to Mass, but it’s a lifetime of receiving Jesus and being drawn into a relationship with Him and going forth to treat others the way Jesus has treated them,” Kleczek said. “I think they are taking their strength from the Eucharist at the moment, doing the ministries that day, that way, with the encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist empowering them in these moments.”

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network posted the video on Pope Francis’ Twitter and Instagram channels July 3, and the video also will be seen on the Archdiocese of Detroit’s channels.

“It’s a huge honor for the Archdiocese of Detroit,” Mentock said. “I think it shows both the talent and dedication of our team that we are recognized as good partners for this work, and it shows our commitment to wanting to do anything we can to support Pope Francis as an archdiocese in service of the church.”

Daniel Meloy is a reporter at the Detroit Catholic, the news outlet of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

(NOTE: The pope’s video message is available both in English and in Spanish.)

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