Tommaso Bertolasi and Laura Salerno are the creators of “Benedetti dubbi” (Blessed doubts) a new podcast from the young people of the Focolare Movement. The first episode will be available on 23rd May, 2023. We asked Tommaso and Laura to explain how doubts can really be a “blessing”, in order to get to know ourselves and others better.
What is our calling? What is the best road to follow when we come to one of the many crossroads that life throws at us? Do we know ourselves and, above all, who has the antidote for fear? Questions like these, the kind that overwhelm our daily lives, are the subject matter of “Benedetti dubbi”, the new podcast designed for young people and by young people, released (in Italian) on 23rd May. To find out more about it, we interviewed the authors of this project, long-time friends, Tommaso Bertolasi, a researcher in philosophy at the Sophia University Institute (Loppiano, Florence) and Laura Salerno, a young member of the Focolare Movement, a writer and a student of literature.
Laura, how did it all start?
It all started in 2018. Tommaso and I were in Argentina. We met at a conference for young people of the Focolare Movement. Since he is a philosopher, he had been invited as a speaker to talk about freedom. I listened to what he said and liked it very much. Over the years he has continued to engage in dialogue with and for young people, so much so that he has decided to compile some of the exchanges in a book, entitled “The last hour of the night”, which will be released by Città Nuova in August 2023. And then came the idea: “Well if a book is coming out, why not do a podcast that deals with the same content?” And so a few months ago I got a phone call inviting me to help him bring this project to life.
Tommaso, why a podcast?
Sometimes ideas are like a cocktail: they come out of the union of various things. And this is what happened with “Blessed Doubts”. At a certain point I realized that I had a lot of material for meetings, workshops and dialogues, that I had often prepared with young people. Hence the idea of not restricting important themes such as freedom, choices, fragility and vocation to just one occasion but of being able to offer them to everyone. Then I thought that other languages and themes could also be explored and so here is the podcast. I wanted to create a format more suitable for young people, who often nowadays, find reading a challenge. Or at least, they read something after you’ve convinced them it’s worth it. In all this work, an additional factor was the World Youth Day that dictated the timing of this operation a little. I thought it would be nice that the Focolare Movement could offer something to those who are preparing to go to Lisbon. It will be released on the major podcast platforms (Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast), one episode per week for 6 weeks.
Laura, what age group are you targeting?
Our target age range is 18-30 years. This is why the main themes are questions about fragility, freedom, relationships, trying to find one’s place in the world. It’s all about trying to see doubt as a positive thing, as a springboard to live more deeply and more consciously what happens to us.
Tommaso, how did you determine the topics to be addressed for each episode?
My initial idea was to replicate the contents of the book, paraphrasing it. Working with Laura, however, I realized that her questions led the conversation to other areas, that the young people she had in mind were also her university classmates who do not necessarily recognize themselves in any religious creed. I understood that Laura had deep questions that were partly hers and partly reflected her world of relationships: it was from those questions that we had to start to weave something suitable for young adults.
What was the most difficult episode for you, Laura?
I think the hardest was the first one. We were both a bit nervous, and then we had to introduce the podcast, make it clear why we think it is important to ask questions, not to exist in anxiety or submerged in paranoia. A further challenge was that a few days before we recorded the first few episodes, I had a bad cold and a high temperature. Everything always happens at the same time! But we managed to do it also thanks to the super team that supported us during the recording.
Tommaso, what did you gain from this project?
I learned a lot from all the people with different skills who worked on this project. Indeed, the realization of “Blessed doubts” was a collective operation. And after you listen to the podcast, we’d love to have your feedback, on Spotify, on our social networks (@Y4UW and Movimento_dei_focolari) or via email (email@example.com). For further information about other projects in the pipeline, stay connected to the social channels of the Focolare Movement.
Maria Grazia Berretta
premetto sono over 80…
ho letteralmente bevuto il vostro podcast…..
vi state aprendo in modo innovativo sull’oggi del mondo giovanile ….andate avanti con coraggio
Sono certa che sarà una pista utile anche per altre fasce di età
GRAZIE sono con voi 1
Estupenda iniciativa para los jóvenes
Felicitaciones a Tomasso y Laura
Saludos desde Maracaibo Venezuela
Miriam Bracho Suárez
Pastora de la Iglesia Presbiteriana de Venezuela
Moderadora del Sinodo de la IPV
Siete sempre nel mio cuore