Patti Kamper Capstone Story

Preserving History with an Angel
Patti Kamper
Diocese of Richmond

St. Michael Parish, where I am an elementary CRE, was beginning to prepare for our 25th Anniversary. As the planning got underway, I often heard the “original” members talking about the past and where we have come from while the new people were looking to the future. Hearing these perspectives led me to consider preserving our past as we moved on to our future.

Our founding Pastor’s administrative assistant, Juanita Walker, is still a parishioner and until recently was a catechist for our elementary children. She often shares stories of how our parish came to be with other catechists and with the children she teaches. As her health has declined it became evident to me that Juanita’s memories needed to be recorded and as Elementary Coordinator of my parish I felt called to preserve this history for our children. My vision was a video tour of the church, starring Juanita’s favorite character, Gloria the St. Michael Christmas Angel.

Previously, the thought of such an undertaking would have caused me to panic, but my goal was to keep it simple thereby setting an example to those around me. I used my 8mm digital video camera to capture the video, uploaded it to my laptop and edited it into short clips using Microsoft Movie Maker, a free software program already loaded on my laptop. Movie Maker allowed me to add text and special effects to make the videos more visually appealing. The next step was to upload the final videos to YouTubeand create a Video Tour Playlist. I took the URL from each video and created a QR code on and added the codes with photos of each “stop” to my Tour Book, created in Microsoft Publisher. Any person could take the tour book and their smartphone, tablet, iPhone or iPad with a free QR reader app, like QR Droid from the Google Play Store or Quick Scan by iHandy in the iTunes Store and tour the Church and watch Gloria’s videos. Catechists and visitors to our website can also stream these videos and take a virtual tour of our Church.

Through the lens of a video camera I learned to have faith and trust that a video project could be kept simple and still have a profound impact. Upon completion, the variety of ways to use and share this project grew. Feeling more confident after completing this project, I took my smartphone and recorded some of the elementary children answering questions about their faith. With just a camera phone and some eager kids we can watch the faith come alive at the hands of our young.