Vero Brunkow, a consecrated of Regnum Christi, is a digital evangelizer, with almost one hundred thousand followers on the Internet. Vero is Brazilian by origin, 43 years old, who has lived in Italy since August 2021. She is a graduate in missiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. She has a beautiful open smile. With commitment, continuity and enthusiasm, she brings God’s word to Instagram and her own YouTube channel every day. Prayer, her interpretation of the Gospel, spiritual assistance, and life advice dispensed not only in person but also by priests and theologians. Vero, an influencer who is followed throughout the world today, embodies a completely new mission, in line with the times and above all with Pope Francis’ recommendation that the Church embrace and ride the digital challenge.
When did your challenge commence?
Five years ago. I opened my YouTube channel after training in digital evangelization on the Spanish platform iMisiòn. I started with a Sunday reflection on the Gospel then, during the pandemic, followers asked for online spiritual exercises and slowly the scope widened. To address more topics and more times a week I involved priests and theologians
Why did you decide to engage in online evangelization?
To bring the mission of the Church into the digital space. Where we are, there is God. And since today we live in front of computers and smartphones, the Church must also be ready to listen in that space.
But is this not just a virtual space?
We must not fall into a misunderstanding. The digital world is real because it is where people now live. Many regard technology as a mere tool, instead it is an actual dimension in which the word of God can and must be heard. Our challenge is to make that space a beautiful place, rich in spiritual values and faith.
And what are the faithful looking for when they log on?
At the beginning of the pandemic I invited people to share their conversion experience. To which, hundreds responded; it was beautiful. During that difficult time, I felt a strong need for hope. Today, Internet users express themselves without hesitation about everything. They ask not only how to start reading the Bible but also how to live marriage in faith, how to deal with the betrayal of a spouse or overcome depression. In every situation, we need to be heard.
What has been the most unexpected requests?
Often, under the guarantee of anonymity, digital communication allows people to open their hearts without fear and ask the questions they would not have the courage to ask in person. Someone announced to me that they intended to commit suicide, others asked what the Church thought of their homosexuality. They told me that there were even requests to prepare for Baptism.
Are there, apart from you, other digital evangelizers?
There are so many. A few months ago an initiative was founded, supported by the Dicastery of Communication. With the title, The Church Listens To You, which brings together 244 digital evangelizers from around the world. The idea is to act as a bridge between the synodal process and people in the digital world. We are becoming a community of over 500, a hundred of which are Italians. We see ourselves as sowers, but we do not know where our sowing will go or where the frontier of the digital world is. I cannot predict where my word will go. Nevertheless, I am sure that God is there.
Have you ever discussed your mission with the Pope?
In August 2022, Pope Francis addressed the participants of the “Hechos 29” meeting held in Monterrey, Mexico, with a beautiful message of encouragement to continue.
What do you see in your future?
I feel in my heart the need to work on a digital pastoral. God willing, I will be happy to develop my current mission.
On social media, haters abound. Do you have any yourself?
Some voices of dissent are there, but I would not speak of haters. Every so often on my profiles I find doubts or objections on religious matters, especially from Protestants. With Catholics there have been no difficulties.
As the daughter of parents of different denominations, what did that entail?
I grew up in Curitiba, Brazil, with a Catholic mother and a Lutheran father whose religion I learned to respect from an early age. On Saturdays, I went to mass with my mother, on Sundays to worship with my father. Then, in 2000, a couple of months before my consecration, I received the news that my father had become Catholic. I like to think that, with my consecration, God took charge of everything I hold dear.
What is your dream?
I would like to approach people who have drifted away from the faith because they do not feel the closeness of the Church. However, the Church is everywhere and is ready to meet everyone, to bring the word of God to wherever people are. We digital evangelisers are a small bridge to facilitate this dialogue that, thanks to technology, can reach further and further.
by GLORIA SATTA