40 The Series - Thrilling Post-Apocalyptic Drama


Editor’s note: We missed sharing it with you here on the blog, but many of our readers know that the web series “40” took the Catholic online world by storm this past Lent. Here’s a recap of the project – be sure to check it out at 40theseries.com — it’s honestly not too late to be uplifted and inspired by this great project! LMH

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Los Angeles — A growing number of Catholics are finding inspiration and reflection this Lenten season through an unlikely source: the Internet and social media.

The producers of “40,” a post-apocalyptic Web-based drama that debuted on Ash Wednesday, report they have seen a steady growth in viewers across its Web, YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook platforms.

“’40’ has literally gone from zero to almost 20,000 viewers each week during Lent and the audience is growing,” said Fr. Eddie Siebert, S.J., President of Loyola Productions, who along with the Midwest Jesuits and Loyola Press have produced the groundbreaking program. “People are getting used to the idea that certain technologies, often thought of as a work tool or purely a social outlet, are convenient and useful channels for enhancing their faith as well.”

“40” offers viewers a unique Lenten experience through weekly episodes aired on 40theseries.com, YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. Each of the 14 episodes acts as a Lenten allegory, accompanied by meditative reflections centered on the scriptural references. Updates are communicated through Facebook and Twitter.

Religious education programs across the country have adopted “40” as part of the their Lenten curriculum. St. Cornelius Catholic School in Chicago has integrated “40” into its 7th grade confirmation curriculum. Students watch “40” in class and then discuss each program’s message and reflection.

“At first students didn’t know what to expect,” said Mary Barth, the school’s religious education coordinator. “Now, they talk about the program and look forward to the next episode.”

Barth noted most students use technology at home and in school. Using Web and social media based religious education programs like “40” helps to show students how to integrate what they learn in Confirmation class into every day life.

“Books and lectures are fine, but a Web- and social media-based program like “40” delivers content and a message to students through communication channels they use every day and can relate to.”

High school juniors taking Victor Cancino, S.J.’s inter-religious dialogue class at Verbum Dei High School in south central Los Angeles are using “40” to learn more about Catholicism’s rituals.

“Students are intrigued by “40” because its an allegory, a metaphor for life and faith,” Mr. Cancino said. “They relate better to the information by watching the programs in class.”

Cancino said after watching “40” each week, students write about the week’s episode in their journals as a way to deepen their faith, understand their lives and learn more about the Catholic Church.

“40’s” producers expect to continue to grow the audience for the unique series. “Combining a cutting-edge medium with mixed media is exciting,” said Siebert, “40’s” executive producer. “”40” successfully demonstrates the best use of the Internet and social media to enhance our faith during Lent and throughout the year.”

Check out 40theseries.com for the videos and additional information.


About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. She blogs at multiple online venues including Patheos. Her articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and the Catholic Press Association tour of Israel as a guest of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism. Hendey lives with her family in the Diocese of Fresno, California.

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