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Stranger Than Fiction


Source: Catholic News Service

Quirky dramatic comedy about a lonely and neurotic IRS auditor (Will Ferrell) who wakes to find his life being narrated by a seemingly omniscient voice only he can hear, which turns out to belong to a famous reclusive author (Emma Thompson) working on a new novel in which he is the protagonist and that predicts what will happen to him, including his death. By turns sentimental, funny and, in the end, modestly profound, director Marc Forster's existential farce touches on issues of fate and free will, while imparting a wonderful message that the little moments -- the smiles, hugs and small acts of kindness -- we often relegate to footnote status in the narrative of our daily living are what give life its meaning. An implied sexual encounter, brief locker-room rear nudity, a jarring traffic accident and one use of the f-word, as well as a couple of crude expressions and an instance of profanity. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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James of the Marche: Meet one of the fathers of the modern pawnshop! 
<p>James was born in the Marche of Ancona, in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. After earning doctorates in canon and civil law at the University of Perugia, he joined the Friars Minor and began a very austere life. He fasted nine months of the year; he slept three hours a night. St. Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances. </p><p>James studied theology with St. John of Capistrano. Ordained in 1420, James began a preaching career that took him all over Italy and through 13 Central and Eastern European countries. This extremely popular preacher converted many people (250,000 at one estimate) and helped spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives and many men joined the Franciscans under his influence. </p><p>With John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano and Bernardine of Siena, James is considered one of the "four pillars" of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. These friars became known especially for their preaching. </p><p>To combat extremely high interest rates, James established <i>montes pietatis</i> (literally, mountains of charity)--nonprofit credit organizations that lent money at very low rates on pawned objects. </p><p>Not everyone was happy with the work James did. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him. James died in 1476 and was canonized in 1726.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us never tire of seeking the Lord—of letting ourselves be sought by him—of tending over our relationship with him in silence and prayerful listening. Let us keep our gaze fixed on him, the center of time and history; let us make room for his presence within us.

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