National News

Real+True Project Seeks to Engage Millennials, Gen Z in Catechism

Based on the pillars of the Catechism, the videos in the Real+True project incorporate animation, live action, and interviews. (Photo: courtesy of Emily Mentock)

WINDSOR TERRACE — Edmundo Reyes is determined to change your perception of the Catechism. In his view, it’s more than just a thick book that explains the ins and outs of the Catholic faith. 

“It’s a living echo of the voice of God,” Reyes said. “And it’s important to make it come alive for a new generation.” 

The Catechism was published in 1992 under Pope St. John Paul II, but Reyes and two friends, Edmund Mitchell and Emily Mentock, are seeking to bring its highlights to the Millennial and Gen Z generations.

On Sept. 7, they launched Real+True, a series of videos, podcasts, and social media posts inspired by the Catechism and designed to get younger Catholics fully engaged with their religion. Reyes, Mitchell and Mentock have created a website, and a YouTube channel where the videos can be viewed.

Just as the Catechism consists of four pillars — Profession of Faith, Celebration of the Christian Mystery, Life in Christ, and Christian Prayer — so does Real+True. There will be 12 videos for each of the four pillars. These 48 videos, each six to seven minutes in length, feature live action as well as interviews with scholars.

Content will be published in monthly units, with each unit covering a particular section of the Catechism. Real+True will present the second unit starting Oct. 1.

The content is available in four languages — English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French — and is accessible for free.

The narration style for the first video is done in the tone and language that Millennials and Gen Z would use. We try to keep it in that vernacular so it’s not just quoting the Catechism,” said Mentock, the associate director of strategy in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Reyes is the communications director for the archdiocese. Mitchell is the founder and CEO of Bummer + Lazarus, a digital marketing firm based in Texas.

The first video, which deals with the opening paragraphs of the Catechism, offers a fun way to look at the need for God to give us a sense of direction in our lives. The viewer is asked to wonder what the world would be like if maps did not exist.

“Why are humans so dependent on them and needing to know where we are? It’s so important for us to know our place in the world and to have a sense of adventure reading maps and finding places to explore,” Mentock said.

The founders of Real+True hope dioceses, churches, ministries, and schools use the videos and the other content as evangelization tools.

“It’s not a curriculum or a program. It’s really meant to supplement all the work they’re doing to communicate to the next generation,” Mitchell said.

The goal is to communicate the idea that the Catechism is a living, breathing entity, he explained.

“We believe the Catechism is not a textbook, a collection of ideas, or a set of rules,” Mitchell added. “We believe the Catechism is the faithful echo of a God who wishes to reveal himself to us and desires us to respond.”