Seeing that the videos were reaching people, he decided to continue.
“I didn’t expect all of this. Also because it wasn’t the objective, I wasn’t trying to get a lot of views,” he explained.
But when it happened, the priest said that he realized it could be a way to communicate with young people in a creative way -- and he had fun making them.
All of Ravagnani’s videos -- to date 46 -- have gained tens of thousands of views (several have hundreds of thousands). They touch on topics as diverse as the existence of God, video games, happiness, and why to pray the rosary.
In the videos, Don Alberto (as he’s known in Italy) speaks quickly and has an engaging energy, which is coupled with fast-paced editing. And he does not deploy euphemisms, using language familiar to today’s adolescents and teens in each of his frenetic videos.
For example, a seven-minute video on pornography, uploaded to YouTube in October 2020, is his most-watched, with more than 396,000 views.
“In fact, with the passing of time, I realized that it had opened a path, social media too, to speak about the Gospel, and to reach many people. Many people who, probably, in our usual activities, we don’t encounter,” Ravagnani said.
Success on YouTube propelled the new priest to Italian stardom, with profiles in major Catholic and secular newspapers and, most recently, an interview spot on the newest talk show on the state-owned television Rai.
Ravagnani, ordained in 2018, is assigned to the Parish of St. Michael the Archangel in Busto Arsizio, a town of around 83,000 people just north of Milan. He is responsible for the parish’s large youth oratory, where he also lives. There he works with around a hundred youth from elementary through high school.
Speaking about his vocation as a priest, he told CNA: “In the midst of my faults, my limitations, my weaknesses, I know that where the Lord has planted me, I can bring forth fruit. Already I have seen some fruit. And I realize my life is for doing this.”
“Now I feel very happy, really, because I have found my place in the world,” he said.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
But he did not always feel that way. Explaining that he did not grow up in a particularly devout Catholic family, Ravagnani said he was taught the faith in catechism classes, in his parish, and in youth group.
When he was in middle school, he became a catechism leader for younger kids, getting to play games with them and lead them in activities.
“This I liked a lot. I felt really fulfilled,” he said, “because I had the opportunity to do good for others through my talents, my abilities.”
But starting in high school, he “didn’t feel completely happy. There was something wrong.”
Everything changed for him when he was 17 years old and went on a week-long camping trip in the mountains, organized by his parish.