Playful footage of Marxists encountering a Eucharistic procession, as captured by Catholic Weekly photographer Giovanni Portelli, has clocked up more than 320,000 views over the weekend, becoming a global hit on Catholic social media.
The footage shows the startled reaction of two Marxist students as they unwittingly walk into the path of a Eucharistic procession arranged by the Sydney University Catholic Society as part of their annual Christ Week.
The clip took on a life of its own with various Catholic Facebook and Twitter pages remixing the footage, the most popular clip overlaying text from Proverbs 28:1, beginning “The wicked flee when no man pursueth …”
General reaction on social media ranged from enthusiastic to gleeful, with a few commenters voicing concern about depicting the students as “the enemy” – something that was not suggested in the original clip.
Giovanni said he was delighted that people had seen the humour in the original clip.
Like any great photographer, he saw an opportunity and he went with it:
“I ran up ahead and saw what was about to happen. I set myself up just at the right spot and loaded up my smartphone camera.
“When I uploaded it that night, I knew that it was going to have a massive (impact in Sydney). I had no idea that it was going to be remixed into the many forms that it has taken on.”
Giovanni was philosophical on the reaction it had provoked.
“I love the discussion that it has created. Literally thousands of people see the humour in the situation and many have asked about the background of the whole scene, including many who asked, ‘What is a Eucharistic Procession?’
“(The procession and video are) evangelisation in a new way and I’m a big supporter – and a creator – in that process.”
Various forms of the clip have received thousands of shares on Facebook and Twitter, with global Catholic media giant, EWTN, covering the incident on its ChurchPop and National Catholic Register platforms.