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Brussels, February 6, 2020 (Crux Now / The Tablet). Capuchin Franciscan Father Luis Antonio Salazar is breaking with traditional ways of preaching and bringing the Gospel to thousands of cellphone users each week through an Instagram video series called "Vivir el Evangelio", or "Living the Gospel".
In the one-minute videos, he discusses key passages of the New Testament with the help of electronic music and special effects. Each video gets thousands of views and hundreds of comments. And in a year, Salazar's account, @Flas7.0, has grown from 5,000 to more than 120,000 followers.
"The motive behind this is to help people understand the Gospel," said Salazar. "I want to take those stories that happened 2,000 years ago with the pharisees and the rest of the characters in the Bible and show people what they teach us about being good Christians."
Salazar, 34, described himself as a "Catholic influencer." He started posting videos to Instagram in 2018 after a 19-year-old member of his parish convinced him it would be a good idea and offered to help with the editing and special effects.
The videos also have helped him to connect with young Catholics in other cities and even in other Spanish-speaking countries, forming a "digital parish" to which he tries to tend daily. Salazar said he also has been messaged by people with problems such as depression and strives to provide them with prayers and guidance.
"I am approached with sensitive issues, so I have to answer all the messages myself," he explained. "I'm not just any influencer coming up with crazy videos."
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 a time that the country continues experiencing a harrowing economic crisis.