Oops! I totally missed July’s book review and now we are two weeks into August. Sorry. I attended the IHM Conference (Immaculate Heart of Mary) in July and had a very difficult time choosing which Catholic movies to pick within my $100 budget. With the assistance of the owner of the bookstore, I was able to pick 5 movies and have watched nearly all of them already. Instead of a book review for July/August, I will give you my very humble opinion on the flicks that I have enjoyed thus far.
The Footprints of God Series by Dr. Stephen Ray (Ignatius Press)
This is a collection of 6 separate movies including: Abraham, Moses, David/Solomon, Mary, Jesus and Peter. Each comes with a study guide making it a great Bible study or apologetics tool as well as being entertaining. Dr. Ray (Patrick always calls him George because he looks like the Seinfeld character George–no offense, Dr. Ray) walks us through the Bible on location in the Holy Land. It is really an incredible experience for those of us who cannot travel to the Holy Land, but it also makes the Bible come to life as we see the places where these events took place. It is a great way to teach Salvation History to your children or just expand your own understanding of the these historical people and their stories.
Solanus Casey: Priest, Porter, Prophet (Ignatius Press)
This was a personal pick for me. My father was a novice at the monastery in Detroit where Fr. Solanus lived at the time (1950’s). My grandfather, believing that Fr. Solanus was a saint, instructed my father to save a lock of hair. You see, my father was assigned to the barber shop during his novitiate. My father did as he was told and I remember that lock of hair sitting on his dresser for all of my childhood and hearing the story of Fr. Solanus. My father sent the hair with documentation of how it was obtained to Rome. Fr. Solanus is currently referred to as Venerable Solanus Casey as we await one more miracle and pray for his canonization. This documentary includes actual photographs and video footage of Venerable Casey. It is always good to read and learn about the saints and other holy people who serve as role models for our own lives, but this was especially meaningful knowing that he lived in America in recent time.
St. Guiseppe Moscati: Doctor for the Poor (Ignatius Press)
Very entertaining and inspiring, this movie chronicles the career of Dr. Moscati as he lived and practiced in Italy. Some theatrical additions were added to the story for entertainment purposes, but the essence of his story remains true to life. A small booklet is included with the film that discloses the added literary features. This a movie vs. documentary which will grab your attention and hold it throughout the film. The original format is in Italian, so you have the choice of subtitles or an English version. We found the English version to be entertaining all on its own as the lips and words don’t quite match up. I was so inspired by St. Moscati’s story that I mailed the movie to my godson who is a doctor in Nebraska.
Padre Pio: Between Heaven and Earth (Ignatius Press)
Also a movie version vs. documentary, this film kept my attention for the duration. It also captured the attention of my teens and ten-year old son who were in the room with me. It is a two-part film and I had to wait to watch part two until the other three were available to watch it with me! Like Venerable Solanus, Padre Pio was also a Capuchin monk living at the same time but at a monastery in Italy. This movie was originally filmed in Italian as well. The English translation is off in some places as well as the pronunciation. I found the subtitles to be more accurate, but they did not match the spoken words. This could prove to be a distraction, but not so great as to not learn and benefit from viewing the movie.
Ocean of Mercy
I have this one out on loan, so I am not certain of its publisher. Is that what you call it for movies? Anyway, this is my absolute favorite, all time Catholic movie and I learn something new each time I view it. Ocean of Mercy was filmed while Pope John Paul II was the current Pope and, obviously, still living. Since then, he has become St. Pope John Paul II and that makes this film that much more amazing when you view it. It is a three-for-one punch as it covers the lives of three saints: St. Faustina, St. Maximillian Kolbe, and St. Pope John Paul II. Their lives overlapped physically and spiritually during the 20th century just prior to and during the Second World War. You will be inspired by the heroic acts and divine intervention in these Saints lives during an incredibly dark time in human history. If you only watch one movie, it should be this one. You will not walk away untouched.
I’ll keep you posted on more great movies! Remember, my friends, family and fellow CATH members all have access to my movies and are welcome to borrow them at any time. These are wonderful entertainment pieces, but they also speak to our hearts and souls calling us to our higher purpose. And don’t forget the popcorn!