Priests Lighten Up with a Bit of Video Fun
In Loves Park, questions answered with a light touch
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
April 23, 2020
Joy and laughter are what the “Ask the Priests” creators —Father Sean Grismer and Lauren Wright — are aiming for. And they are most pleased to hear those words used to describe the first six episodes of their Facebook feature. 
They created the episodes in the third and fourth weeks of pandemic restrictions.
They “wanted a way to just bring joy and connection for parishioners and family members,” says Father Grismer. 
“We wanted to bring some levity” to the sad and difficult situations faced by everyone in this time of the coronavirus.
New “Ask The Priests” episodes are posted on the parish Facebook page (and soon on the parish’s YouTube site) on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. 
The weekday installments are fairly straightforward, but the Sunday ones get a little wacky.
“We thought giving (parishioners) permission to ask questions to us, and (filming) while we were doing simple, daily tasks, that we’d be able to answer those questions and give an opportunity to stay connected to them,” Father Grismer, parochial vicar, says.
Fellow parochial vicar Father John McNamara, and pastor, Msgr. Stephen Knox, were happy to offer their talents for the effort. 
The seminarians staying with them, Connor Orabutt and Eric Schreifels, have helped behind the scenes and occasionally get tossed in front of the camera —notably to philosophize about a question presented by a St. Bridget middle school student: “Is water wet?”
“Water’s wet. Take a shower,” was Father McNamara’s answer to the seminarians’ few seconds of pondering.
“A couple of (episodes) have over 6,000 views, which is bananas,” Wright says. 
Her parish title may be youth minister, but she also is the resident video expert. 
Video-editing is something she first explored at the beginning of this year when she decided to make videos to help teach the faith to middle schoolers. 
Her educational timing, Father Grismer says, is “somewhat providential.”
 “Lauren isn’t always here,” he explains. “We’ll film it, and she’ll give comments through Facetime, then we upload the video and send it to her, and she edits it and sends it out.”
Wright came up with the “Ask the Priests” music, inspired by some “cheesy music” videos, she says.
“That was my goal: to put together an intro that had that kind of background music,” she says, adding that the chosen tune was purchased from a copyright-free site.
The priests come up with their own settings, which have included two kitchen-based attempts. One features making pretzels and the other eating breakfast. 
These kitchen scenes showed Father McNamara and Msgr. Knox in the foreground. Inspired by popular dog-and-owner videos, Father Grismer, hidden behind his pastor, lent his arms and hands for Msgr. Knox’s pretzel-making and cereal-eating actions. 
Father Grismer, of course, can’t actually see what he’s doing.
“I combed his hair one time,” he recalls with special joy.
Perhaps the most popular bit so far turned the tables — you could say — featuring Msgr. Knox assisting in shaving Father Grismer’s shaggy facial hair, half of his face at a time.
But whatever hijinks the priests invent, more than just the viewers have fun.
“The first time we were all crying (because) we were laughing so hard,” Wright says. “I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a very, very long time.”
In addition to a good laugh, Father Grismer has benefited in a different way.
“I would say one of the greatest blessings out of it has been similar to that of the quarantine — getting to know my brother priests in a new way,” he says.
“We can make these videos together and grow in our brotherhood and priesthood together,” he adds.
Both the priest and youth minister look forward to future creations.
Wright says they have a bank of 20-30 questions, with more coming. Even a woman from Queens, N.Y., sent one in.
“We’d like to keep it going as long as we can,” Father Grismer says. 
“We know it’s bringing joy and levity.  It’s what the Gospel is about — the light of hope and joy in midst of sorrow.
“It is one more way, without having to preach the Gospel, we’re living the Gospel.”
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