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A digital ‘fervorino’

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Fervorino is an Italian word that means a quick exhortation or pep talk. In the church, it's often used to signify a short sermon - words of inspiration to get you thinking about Jesus.

Thérèse Bermpohl, director of the Office for Family Life, had an idea for a way to reach busy people who may not have a great deal of time to pray, but want a connection to the weekly Gospel readings. Her "fervorinos" are short, online videos called "2minutes2virtue." They will be reflections on the Sunday readings, and will challenge people to practice a virtue in their daily lives.

Bermpohl said the videos are not a replacement for Mass and the Gospel, but a complement, because the message of Jesus is important.

"If you want to change the world, you need to know Jesus," she said.

Bermpohl approached two priests, Fathers James C. Hudgins, pastor of St. Jude Church in Fredericksburg, and James R. Searby, parochial vicar of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Arlington to be the online homilists for August and September respectively.

Father Hudgins said when he was asked to participate he joked that he accepted because "I was asked." But he went on to explain that when he was a seminarian at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., his teacher, Father Fred Miller, told him, "When you are asked to speak publicly, strive to say 'yes.'"

"It's a chance to evangelize," said Father Hudgins.

He's glad these talks are being posted online because he will reach people where they are - waiting for a bus or a plane.

He said the Internet has so many bad things on it, that this may help to balance things out.

Father Hudgins filmed the five homilies at one sitting. It was difficult, he said, to come up with five short two-minute homilies. He quoted Woodrow Wilson when asked how much time he needs to prepare for a speech: "It depends. If I am to speak 10 minutes, I need a week for preparation; if 15 minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now."

In one of his two-minute homilies, Father Hudgins asks, "If you had all of God's power, what would you do?"

You would certainly not choose to die on a cross like Jesus did, he said.

"When He takes up the cross, He shows us who He is," Father Hudgins said.

Father Hudgins reflects on that fact, saying that, "God will transform us into His image."

As a challenge for the week, Father Hudgins said when you feel a "tug of selfishness," offer a simple prayer: "Lord, for me, in your image."

Bermpohl said that if the series is successful, other clergy will be invited to offer a monthly reflection.

"The idea," said Bermpohl, "is to make the most of the Sunday reading by giving you a nugget that you can work with the rest of the week. It's another tool to help people put on Christ."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015