In Caracas, Luis Antonio Salazar, a Capuchin Franciscan priest, is breaking with traditional ways of preaching and bringing the Gospel to thousands of cell phone users each week through an Instagram video series called “Vivir el Evangelio” (Living the Gospel”). In one minute videos he discusses key passages of the New Testament with the help of electronic music and special effects. In a recent video, he discussed a passage from the Gospel of Luke that recounts how Jesus cured 10 lepers, including a Samaritan man. The Samaritan was the only leper who returned to thank him for the miraculous deed. “Interesting", Father Salazar notes. “Jesus cured a foreigner. That’s because he doesn’t suffer from xenophobia”.
Father Salazar started posting videos to Instagram in 2018. In just one year, Salazar’s account - @Flas7.0 - has grown to more than 120,000 followers. “I want to take those stories that happened 2,000 years ago with the Pharisees, the scribes and the rest of the characters in the Bible,” Father Salazar said, “and show people what they teach us about being good Christians.”
Father Salazar said the videos have connected him with young Catholics in other cities and other Spanish speaking countries, forming a “Digital Parish” he tries to tend daily.
The Capuchin said the videos are part of a broader effort to make the church more present in the lives of the Venezuelan people at time when the country continues to experience a harrowing economic and political crisis.
Father Salazar has attended several anti-government protests, comforting protesters who suffered from the effects of tear gas. “I think it is important for the Venezuelan people to see that the church is with them.” he said.