Praying for celebrities is an important aspect of a lived media spirituality. The media spirituality integrates our faith experience with our media experience. It presents the faith as crucial to every aspect of our lives and not only when we go to Church or when we pray. As all catechesis has the goal of helping students develop a personal and profound relationship with Jesus, so a media spirituality brings Jesus into their everyday choices and entertainment.
There are 5 aspects to a media spirituality:
1. Pray the media—This means praying for the media culture and within the culture. It is about transforming the culture from within, since we cannot change something we do not understand. And the only way we change something is if we ourselves are willing to be changed and challenged. There are many ways of praying the media, but I present here the practice called "Praying the News," as well as Cinema Divina, which is referred to as "sacred viewing."
2. Praying with the media—This involves using media in our prayer, such as books, e-books, film clips, music, etc. Some suggestions are included in this course here.
3. Praying for Media Professionals—The writers, directors, producers, actors, and animators, etc. are the storytellers of our time. They seek to tell stories that are deeply human and that look to the struggles and joys of human living. Some storytellers are dark and destructive, while many others are sincerely wanting to use their art to tell stories that matter. They need our prayers so that they uphold human dignity in their storytelling and promote all that is true, good, and beautiful. They receive their craft from the Creator of All, who is Truth, Goodness, and Beauty Itself. We pray they use their talents for the good of society instead of complaining when we see something we do not like. A wonderful prayer for media professionals is the Canticle of Praise for the Media in Today's World.
4. Praying for Celebrities—Most of us never have to worry about the pressure of having out entire lives displayed for the world to see, as do many celebrities. The pressures they face in being famous comes with consequences and some handle it well and others do not. This practice of praying a Novena for a particular celebrity can help us see that they are people who struggle with their own humanity, with their sins fully displayed. We can ask ourselves what we admire about them and what things we do not wish to imitate and why. In a celebrity-crazed culture, thinking mindfully about this aspect of holding up our icons can help us pause and consider how Jesus acted with those who were the "famous" people of his day, or those who were "public sinners."
5. Litany of Media Saints to become Media Mindful—The saints are our Catholic celebrities. They show us how to live in the culture while also striving for heaven. They lived their lives by conviction and struggled in acquiring virtue. They can help us today to be mindful within this digital media culture and so be critical engagers of our media world. The Litany of Media Saints is found here.
I want to highlight an activity that guides us in "Praying for Celebrities." This was created and developed by Sr. Orianne Dyck, a frequent contributor to this website's blog. The activity is below:
PRAYING FOR CELEBRITIES ACTIVITY
by: Sr. Orianne Dyck
Praying for Those in the Media—an Activity to use with Students
Ask the students to think of one of their favourite celebrities. It could be an actor, singer, musician, dancer, tv show host, artist, comedian, famous chef… any celebrity they like and admire.
When we like a celebrity, we might follow their work, or follow them on social media. We might even try to meet them one day at a concert, conference, or convention… or get their picture if we see them in the street.
But have you ever thought about how you can pray for your celebrity?
Your favourite celebrity is a real person. A real person with likes and dislikes, with wonderful qualities and faults, with talents and limitations, with personal joys and struggles. Have you ever noticed or thought about what some of these might be? Have you ever brought these to God for them?
Even if you never meet your favourite celebrity, you are connected to them through prayer. You can lift them up to God, and intercede for them.
Hand every student a piece of coloured* paper and a writing utensil. Have each student write down the name of the celebrity that they wish to pray for today. It might be their favourite celebrity, or maybe it’s a celebrity that God is placing on their heart today for them to pray for.
Once the students have chosen a celebrity to pray for, have them write out a prayer for their celebrity. Encourage the students to include an element of thanksgiving (thanking God for the life, talent, inspiration, etc. of their chosen celebrity) and an element of petition (interceding for a particular need of this celebrity, or a hope that they have for their life, or asking that their celebrity come closer to God, etc.).
After students have written their prayer, provide them some time to pray with it quietly (1-2 minutes of silence). If strapped for time, pray an Our Father or Hail Mary on behalf of all the celebrities chosen, and encourage the students to pray their written prayer on their own at home. **
Challenge the students to take up this prayer as a novena: to pray their prayer for their chosen celebrity each day for a 9-day stretch.
*Using colored paper makes this distinct and special.
** Help them to set a specific time when they will pray this prayer for their chosen celebrity.
© 2020, Pauline Center for Media Studies.