NOONTIME television, once the domain of cheap laughs, silly contests and other frivolities, is finally evolving into a medium that can help evangelize the youth.

Church groups such as Youth Pinoy have lauded the efforts of Eat Bulaga’s “Kalyeserye,” the hit segment of the longest-running noontime show on Philippine TV, for promoting values such as modesty and patience to the youth.

Amid positive reviews for the show, Fr. Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, reminded viewers to not only focus on the show’s “kilig factor,” but also the message of purity of love that the characters Yayadub and Alden Richards (collectively, “AlDub”) espouse.

The recent Catholic Social Media Summit saw the timely launch of the Catholic Social Media Awards, the first winner of which was Eat Bulaga’s Kalyeserye. The citations for Maine Mendoza, the Catholic schoolgirl who is now Yayadub, and even Wally Bayola, the comedian who plays the role of conservative guardian Lola Nidora, are well-deserved, despite opposition from some in the Church leadership.

It has been a while since a TV network featured an entertainment program that promotes positive social values, considering all the teleseryes and other shows promoting and celebrating the themes of adultery, sex and violence over the years.

Some of these shows (and the personalities involved) have won awards from Catholic institutions, including this University, even if their positions on many issues do not coincide with the Church’s.

We have seen the deterioration of values in the entertainment sector, with the TV networks’ obsession for ratings and advertising profits. Kalyeserye’s success is an opportunity for the media to offer more values-oriented shows catering to the youth.

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The popularity of Eat Bulaga’s Kalyeserye is more importantly an opportunity to reach out to the youth, the future of the Church, that the Church leadership must grab.

As Pope Francis has said, quoting Pope St. John Paul II in his message for the upcoming World Youth Day in 2016, “the youth is set to carry the flame of Christ’s merciful love.”

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