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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Gunner Palace

By

Source: Catholic News Service

Raw and unfocused but affecting anti-war documentary chronicling the daily lives, fears and frustrations of soldiers serving in a U.S. Army unit known as the "Gunners" and stationed in a volatile area of Iraq, traveling with them on hazardous night patrols and raids of houses of suspected insurgents, as well as showing them relaxing at the bombed-out former palace of Uday Hussein, now converted into barracks -- complete with swimming pool and putting green -- from which the film derives its title. Directed by the married filmmaking team of Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein -- from footage Tucker spent two months collecting while embedded with the troops -- the (mostly) apolitical movie, shot in no-frills verite style and told entirely from the soldiers' point of view in their own uncensored words, is by turns sobering and surreal, resulting in snapshots of combat drudgery which add up to a war-is-hell message that will resonate with viewers whatever their political stripes. The film contains much strong language and recurring images of wartime violence. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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Ludovico of Casoria: Born in Casoria (near Naples), Arcangelo Palmentieri was a cabinet-maker before entering the Friars Minor in 1832, taking the name Ludovico. After his ordination five years later, he taught chemistry, physics and mathematics to younger members of his province for several years. 
<p>In 1847 he had a mystical experience which he later described as a cleansing. After that he dedicated his life to the poor and the infirm, establishing a dispensary for the poor, two schools for African children, an institute for the children of nobility, as well as an institution for orphans, the deaf and the speechless, and other institutes for the blind, elderly and for travelers. In addition to an infirmary for friars of his province, he began charitable institutes in Naples, Florence and Assisi. He once said, "Christ’s love has wounded my heart." This love prompted him to great acts of charity.
</p><p>To help continue these works of mercy, in 1859 he established the Gray Brothers, a religious community composed of men who formerly belonged to the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he founded the Gray Sisters of St. Elizabeth for the same purpose.
</p><p>Toward the beginning of his final, nine-year illness, Ludovico wrote a spiritual testament which described faith as "light in the darkness, help in sickness, blessing in tribulations, paradise in the crucifixion and life amid death." The local work for his beatification began within five months of Ludovico’s death. He was beatified in 1993.</p> American Catholic Blog Father, there are so many times when I attempt to do something good, and disturbing situations arise, as if someone or some power is trying to stop me. Give me the grace never to be afraid or avoid doing good for fear of Satan. In Jesus's name, Father, I ask for this grace, Amen.


 
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