After months of brainstorming lyrics, rehearsing songs and dances and filming scenes, the eighth-grade class at St. Matthew Cathedral School in South Bend released their music video, “Sacraments,” on YouTube at the end of the 2022 school year. The class created “Sacraments” to creatively summarize and share what they had learned in their middle and junior high school religion classes in a way that captures their distinct class experience at St. Matthew.
This tradition of creating an eighth-grade religion video goes back to 2017. John Fyrqvist, the religion teacher at the time, had the idea to use music to help his students remember important information from their church history class. Noting their love for the musical “Hamilton,” he helped them make a remix to the song “Alexander Hamilton.” The lyrics focused on key dates and events from early Church history, and helped his class master the material in a fun way.
The class of 2022’s music video begins with a group of friends discovering an old cassette tape labeled “Sacraments Mix Tape” in the basement of their school. When they hit play, the music medley remix begins. Scenes depicting the Mass, different sacraments, students praying in the cathedral and chapel, doing service work, studying in the library, and having fun outside at recess communicate the integral role of the Catholic faith in the lives St. Matthew’s students.
Eighth-graders Mary Kirsch, Lilly Malinowski, Lily Orban and Brady Nitz all agreed that hands-on religion projects, such as creating the music video, helped solidify the concepts they had been learning in class and made them relevant to their own lives.
In addition to working on the video during class, much of the brainstorming, rehearsing and filming took place during lunch, recess and after school. The production team, made up of nearly half the grade, often met during lunch to bounce ideas around and craft lyrics, which were often things the class really liked learning about or things that they initially struggled with before mastering. After deciding on the songs and lyrics, they began filming scenes with their religion teacher, Catherine Horvath, and recording solo and chorus songs and dances with Fyrqvist, who is currently the school’s Campus Minister.
The four classmates explained that this year’s video is different from previous videos because it includes multiple songs. “The idea behind having different songs goes back to the idea that we are a family coming together,” Malinowski commented. “When we all come together, it sounds perfect.”
They agreed that creating the music video helped unite them as a class and grow in appreciation for their Catholic faith and time at St. Matthew. Horvath and Fyrqvist enjoyed watching the grade come together and create something meaningful. Fyrqvist remarked, “Seeing the students’ talents emerge and seeing everyone contribute with their creativity and with their energy, passion and excitement, these are really great things for building community and for celebrating the faith and being Catholic.”
The music video ends with the students passing on the cassette tape to their friends. This scene captures the class’s hope that the video will help other students grasp key information about the sacraments and the Catholic faith. It is also a way for the graduating class to look back and remember their time at St. Matthew.
The video can be viewed at: www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=RqDDdT50sKM.
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