By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
Catholic sisters from the Upper Mississippi River Valley will have you hooked with their “Pray It Forward” social media campaign, beginning with the trailer. No words are spoken. Their 37-second video begins with a captivating melody. White print on black background appears: “Beginning March 6 …”
The camera focuses on two sets of hands folded in prayer. Images of the prayerful sisters alternate with a message displayed in bold, flash-frame sequence: Get Ready To … Pray It Forward.”
More sisters appear, one by one, holding cue cards with a simple but effective message about the focus of their prayers: Human trafficking, love and compassion, immigration, peace and nonviolence, forgiveness, and care of the earth.
Each of the six short videos of the “Pray It Forward” campaign are being released one day at a time – March 6-12 — to coincide with National Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14 this year. Sisters United News (SUN) of the Catholic sisters of the Upper Mississippi River Valley created the social media campaign to create awareness of Catholic sisters and their ministries of prayer and education.
It’s also a way to celebrate National Catholic Sisters Week and to shine a spotlight on the impact Catholic sisters have wherever they live and minister. March also marks National Women’s History Month.
The sisters are giving us a head start. They posted the trailer March 2 on Facebook (catholicsisters) and Twitter (@catholicsrs) sites with a message for viewers to Like It. Share It. Do It. The first video will be posted March 6 and the last one on March 12. The videos range in length from about 45 seconds to less than 2 minutes. A seventh video wraps up the project. In each video a sister holds a set of cue cards printed with facts about their given issue. The sisters drop the cards one by one to reveal another fact. They hope to encourage viewers to join them in raising awareness of and praying for resolution to the issues. SUN received grant money to have the videos produced professionally by Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa.
“For this social media campaign we wanted to have just one prayer post per day, so people would focus on the day’s theme and then like it. Share it. Do it. Also, this way we celebrate National Catholic Sisters Week daily for a week,” said Lisa Martin, communications director for the Congregation of the Humility of Mary.
“We hope people will be inspired to pray for the concerns that we are focused on. That people might learn something about these issues. And that they will share and help educate others and generate more prayers. Pray it forward. A viral prayer chain….”
Sister Theresa Judge, OSF, of Clinton appears in the video promoting prayer for peace and nonviolence. “It was a great opportunity to do something to attract people’s attention, to enlighten them about peace and nonviolence, care of creation and all of the issues we’re so passionate about.”
She and other sisters featured in the videos represent the Upper Mississippi River Valley communities that sponsor the videos. The communities from the Davenport Diocese are Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton; Congregation of the Humility of Mary, Davenport; and Carmelite Nuns of Eldridge.
Communities outside the diocese are: Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery; Sisters of the Presentation; Sinsinawa Dominicans; Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration; Sisters of Mercy-West Midwest Community; Sisters of St. Francis- Dubuque; Sisters of the Visitation; and Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey.
To view the Pray It Forward trailer, go to: https://youtu.be/ulwKMCu_gQ0.