By Maggie Maslak, Catholic News Agency     4/24/2018

Richmond, Va. — Each year at Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School, students are required to complete a “senior evangelization project” for their final year’s theology class. 

This year, the students have been assigned by their teacher, John Goerke, with tackling their class project through a particular medium: film. 

Each student has been charged with researching, writing, shooting, and editing their own film about Catholicism, inspired by Bishop Robert Barron’s own video series, “Catholicism: Pivotal Players.” 

Because the project was inspired by Bishop Barron himself, the students and Goerke recently asked the Los Angeles auxiliary bishop in a video letter on Twitter to judge the final five nominees and choose the winner of what the school is calling the “Bishop Barron Video Award.” 

He agreed. 

“How could I say no?” Barron told CNA. 

Barron remarked that he was notified late Thursday night of the video letter by a friend of his. After watching it, he said he was “very touched and moved” by the whole story. He later replied to the Tweet, saying “Wow, this made my day!” 

“My own thinking has kind of impacted these kids and my own approach to evangelization has influenced them, so I was very moved by it and was very grateful to their teacher,” Barron noted. 

Georke posted the students’ thanks on Twitter. “On behalf of the entire senior class of @BpSullivanCHS, we want to thank @BishopBarron for responding so quickly to our video letter. Thank you also to @ccpecknold, @KayBisaillon, @FrGoyo and everyone else who spread the word. (And those who every day spread the Word.) Thank You” 

The seniors at Bishop Sullivan produced 34 videos in total and put in more than 300 hours of combined work into the making of the films. Goerke said he would view all of the films, and narrow down the finalist list to five nominees. These final films will be reviewed by Bishop Barron. 

As Barron watches the videos, he said he would be looking for a number of different qualities in order to determine the winner. 

“I suppose I am looking for a combination of content and style. I’d also like it to be substantive, because that has been a big part of my work – I don’t want evangelization to just be superficial and flashy,” he said. 

He said the students should not have a problem incorporating substance into their videos, since they have been learning from great minds, such as G.K. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Bl. John Henry Newman. 

Barron also noted that he would be looking for films which are “visually engaging” and “artistically done, with a little touch of creativity and maybe a little bit of humor.” 

Among the film topics submitted by the students range from the resurgence of the Tridentine Mass among young Catholics to the Sisters of Life out of the Archdiocese of New York. 

The videos will be recognized at the school’s Senior Awards Ceremony and baccalaureate Mass.   

Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia Beach, Va., more than 100 miles southeast of Richmond, has educational roots dating back to 1848 and was founded as a college preparatory school with the aim of nurturing the intellect, character, and Christian values.