One of the differences between The Church Alive and other S+L series is that it wasn’t filmed in our own studios. Admittedly, from the outset Cheridan and I succumbed to the “go big or go home” syndrome, because we were convinced that any serious attempt to appeal to young people and non-Catholics meant being visually on par with the best secular media productions.
So we reached out to the biggest and, in many ways, the best television production company in Toronto: the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). We ended up with a team of about twenty people, many of whom work on popular programs like The National and Hockey Night in Canada. Apart from being extremely professional and efficient, we found them to be curious (dare I say interested) and highly supportive of what we were trying to do.
When we returned to our S+L studios after each day of filming, we would always comment to each other on this delightfully unexpected experience. And it was affirming for us that such an organization, which from the outside looks indifferent or at least neutral to all matters Catholic, has within it people open to hearing about how God is working in the world.
The Catholic Church has a great story to tell, but it has to be told well. And when we “do our thing” with confidence and joy, the results are staggering. This is what I call evangelizing culture. It sounds like a broad, theoretical idea. But it’s really about one-on-one encounters and fostering relationships.
As you’ll see from this latest promotional video for The Church Alive, it was our desire for visual quality that brought us to the CBC studios. Without them the series wouldn’t have happened. I can’t help but think, in the context of the New Evangelization, that maybe our best and most penetrating work is done in collaboration with those outside the church as well.