I’ve got an exciting post for you today, which includes a review of a film series you won’t want to miss, and a contest that will give three winners the opportunity to gift the entire set of films to a friend, FREE!
As the cause for Blessed John Paul II heats up , I am thrilled to be one of ten bloggers chosen by the great folks at CCC of America to promote the release of a very special ten-part documentary on his life, “John Paul II: The Man, The Pope, and His Message.”
I’ve been asked to review episode 5, “Let There Be Peace: The Pope and Other Faiths,” which I totally loved.
I’d like to start, however, by giving the whole project a big thumbs-up. I love this series and am enjoying sharing the various episodes with my daughter, because each one shows Blessed John Paul II hard at work, traveling the globe and addressing large crowds in many different languages, but also provides encounters with smaller groups and individuals, children as well as adults.
The man so many called “Papa” loved all human beings with an irresistible affection that drew entire crowds right into his heart, and individuals into the exquisite warmth of his fatherly embrace. By featuring simple, unobtrusive narration, clips of his public talks (with subtitles) and remarkable encounters with groups and individuals, the filmmaker has made an epic story intimate, and this is its greatest strength.
There is, at all times, a sense that one is watching a saint at work; through the particulars of the man himself in action, through the power of his tender but challenging words, and through the overwhelming responses of the people he meets. To see children, young people, and adults, swept away by his presence, teary-eyed and joyful, is to experience the heart of one who has palpably encountered God’s love in His chosen shepherd.
Ten 30-minute episodes cover his encounters with children and youth, his teachings on family life and human rights, his visits to Marian shrines, his responses to historic events and movements, and much more. The final episode features rare footage of his private life of work and recreation.
In episode 5, “Let There Be Peace: The Pope and Other Faiths,” we find the Holy Father sprinting across the globe in a passion of ecumenism. Sounding the call of sincere religious devotion to people of many backgrounds and faiths, he seeks common ground while stating his unapologetic fealty to Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
So much more than just a campaign to make friends with those of different beliefs, His Holiness challenged audiences of every conceivable background, including indigenous tribal people, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, and Christians, to fight against the global onslaught of violence and atheism by deepening their own religious practice. It only takes two or three people to start a war, he told them, but many, many prayerful people to bring peace.
Responding to the second Vatican Council’s impetus to foster unification of all Christians, the narrator tells us, John Paul II has taken “the strongest and most far-reaching actions aimed at the deplorable 1,000-year split between the Christians in the east and those in the west, and the 500-year split with protestants.”
“The importance of the things which separate,” the Holy Father told Icelandic Protestants in 1989, “fades when they are considered in the light of those which unite. Unity among Christians, however, would be a gift from God at His time of grace. Now all Churches must rigorously testify their faith.”
At Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome in 1987, he addressed a gathering of Orthodox Christians, emphasizing courage and forgiveness as the possibility of full communion between East and West was approached and prayerfully explored.
To his Eastern European guests he declared, “At the close of this dramatic century, Peter’s question takes on particular significance: ‘How often must I forgive?’ The reply that Christ gives in the parable is also expressed in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will find mercy.’” In a particularly moving segment, the Holy Father recited the Nicene Creed in the original Greek with Demetrius the First, then Patriarch of the Orthodox Church.
Originally sold in the 1990’s on VHS, this beautiful series created by Italian filmmaker, Alberto Michelini, has been repackaged for distribution by CCC of America in a 4-DVD set with bonus materials, including free online access to downloadable educational materials for use in homes, schools, and parishes.
Click here to enter to win a copy of “John Paul II: The Man, The Pope, and His Message.” It only takes a few moments to take part in this exciting opportunity to “gift” the series to a priest, a catechist, a parent or grandparent, a new convert, or anyone else who would cherish owning this exquisite and compelling 10-part series on the life of one of our greatest popes.
This would make an wonderful gift for a family, school, parish or homeschool group. To order, click here .