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Summer Film Retreat 2012 View Comments
by Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP


Summer Film Retreat 2012
For Lent this year, the Pauline Center for Media Studies hosted a six-part weekly program using The Way, starring Martin Sheen. In the film written and directed by Sheen’s son, Emilio Estevez, Sheen plays Tom Avery, a widower who travels to France to bring home the body of his son who died in an accident. Tom discovers his son had just set out to make
the 800-kilometer pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James of Compostela and resolves to
take his place on the Camino (see October 2011 St. Anthony Messenger).

Because we wanted to keep the motif of the pilgrimage, even though we met at our center and people arrived by bus or car, our slogan was “If you can’t walk it with your feet, you can do it from your seat!” The same can be said for an annual retreat, which can be made at home if you’re unable to get away to a retreat house. Summertime is ideal to live out Jesus’ invitation to the disciples in Mark 6:31: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted
place and rest a while.”

Narrative films are an ideal way to bridge faith and life, using the format and methodology of the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius. A Scripture verse that reflects Tom’s reality and journey in The Way is John 9:11.

John Pungente, SJ, and Monty Williams, SJ, have published two books, Finding God in the Dark: Taking the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius to the Movies I & II. Pungente and Williams break down the 30-day retreat into 52 chapters in each volume: one step of the exercises, with Scripture readings, and one film for each week during the year.

The Lights, Camera...Faith! book series can also be used (by Pacatte and Malone, Pauline.org). These volumes include Scripture references, a film, commentary, and
questions for reflection.

For your cinema retreat, you will want to choose quiet time, turn off your phone, and have a Bible, journal, and pen handy. Read the suggested Scripture and then see the film. Afterward, take a break to write your responses to the questions, and take some time for silent prayer.

The Tree of Life


In the 1950s, the struggles of a young father and his eldest son are contrasted with nonlinear images and sequences of God’s creation struggling to be in relationship with the divine. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, especially 5:17, provides a perfect lens to make meaning from this film that requires focus and intentionality on the part of the viewer.

Big Fish

This wondrous, fantastical film, from the creative mind of Tim Burton, explores the relationship between a highly imaginative father and his son, a fact-oriented journalist who feels his father lied to him growing up. He tells his father he doesn’t know who he is. The Gospel passage Matthew 13:10-17 occurs in late July. In it the disciples ask Jesus, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” and Jesus explains.

Amreeka

After 9/11, a Palestinian-Christian woman, Amreeka, applies for a visa to the United States for herself and her son. When it seems that the visa will never come through, it does. They go to Dearborn, Michigan, to stay with her sister and her family. In the face of hardship,
racial stereotyping, and bias, Amreeka and her son persist. She is the woman you would love as a next-door neighbor. Matthew 13:18-23 is about the reward for perseverance.

The Vow

A young married couple (Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams) are in a car accident, and the wife no longer remembers her husband or their marriage. Based on a true story, the situation presents a moral conundrum: How does a loving husband move forward when his wife doesn’t remember him? This leads the audience to ask: What is the right thing to What is the right thing to do? What would I do in the same situation? How could I cope with such a dilemma? St. Paul offers t
Film Capsules
What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Although this film focuses only on beautiful middle-and upper-middle-class white couples—and a Latino couple who goes to Africa to adopt—I found myself touched and moved at the stories of these couples. I was at once impressed and confused by the religious ritual when Ethiopians give away their children to adoptive Western couples. It’s a little
preachy and uneven. Mature themes.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel


With a cast made of British acting royalty, this charming film tells of retirees from the United Kingdom who respond to an ad for exciting—and cheap—retirement living in India. The young bungling owner, Sonny, tells them when things are not what they expect, “Everything will be all right in the end . . . if it’s not all right then it’s not the end.” Indeed. Mature themes; some sexuality.
CATHOLIC CLASSIFICATIONS
A-1 General patronage
A-2 Adults and adolescents
A-3 Adults
L Limited adult audience
O Morally offensive

The USCCB's Office for Film and Broadcasting gives these ratings. See www.usccb.org/movies/index.htm.

Find reviews by Sister Rose and others at www.CatholicMovieReviews.org.

Thank you for your comments. Editors will review all posts before they are visible on the website.

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Anthony Claret: The "spiritual father of Cuba" was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen’s chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris and to the First Vatican Council. 
<p>In his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona, he learned Latin and printing: The future priest and publisher was preparing. Ordained at 28, he was prevented by ill health from entering religious life as a Carthusian or as a Jesuit, but went on to become one of Spain’s most popular preachers. </p><p>He spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her rosary, it was said, was never out of his hand. At 42, beginning with five young priests, he founded a religious institute of missionaries, known today as the Claretians. </p><p>He was appointed to head the much-neglected archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba. He began its reform by almost ceaseless preaching and hearing of confessions, and suffered bitter opposition mainly for opposing concubinage and giving instruction to black slaves. A hired assassin (whose release from prison Anthony had obtained) slashed open his face and wrist. Anthony succeeded in getting the would-be assassin’s death sentence commuted to a prison term. His solution for the misery of Cubans was family-owned farms producing a variety of foods for the family’s own needs and for the market. This invited the enmity of the vested interests who wanted everyone to work on a single cash crop—sugar. Besides all his religious writings are two books he wrote in Cuba: <i>Reflections on Agriculture</i> and <i>Country Delights</i>. </p><p>He was recalled to Spain for a job he did not relish—being chaplain for the queen. He went on three conditions: He would reside away from the palace, he would come only to hear the queen’s confession and instruct the children and he would be exempt from court functions. In the revolution of 1868, he fled with the queen’s party to Paris, where he preached to the Spanish colony. </p><p>All his life Anthony was interested in the Catholic press. He founded the Religious Publishing House, a major Catholic publishing venture in Spain, and wrote or published 200 books and pamphlets. </p><p>At Vatican I, where he was a staunch defender of the doctrine of infallibility, he won the admiration of his fellow bishops. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore remarked of him, "There goes a true saint." At the age of 63, he died in exile near the border of Spain.</p> American Catholic Blog The greatest tragedy of our world is that men do not know, really know, that God loves them. Some believe it in a shadowy sort of way. If they were to really think about it they would soon realize that their belief in God’s love for them is very remote and abstract. Because of this lack of realization of God’s love for them, men do not know how to love God back. —Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 
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