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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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Jerome: Most of the saints are remembered for some outstanding virtue or devotion which they practiced, but Jerome is frequently remembered for his bad temper! It is true that he had a very bad temper and could use a vitriolic pen, but his love for God and his Son Jesus Christ was extraordinarily intense; anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and St. Jerome went after him or her with his mighty and sometimes sarcastic pen. 
<p>He was above all a Scripture scholar, translating most of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. He also wrote commentaries which are a great source of scriptural inspiration for us today. He was an avid student, a thorough scholar, a prodigious letter-writer and a consultant to monk, bishop and pope. St. Augustine (August 28) said of him, "What Jerome is ignorant of, no mortal has ever known." </p><p>St. Jerome is particularly important for having made a translation of the Bible which came to be called the Vulgate. It is not the most critical edition of the Bible, but its acceptance by the Church was fortunate. As a modern scholar says, "No man before Jerome or among his contemporaries and very few men for many centuries afterwards were so well qualified to do the work." The Council of Trent called for a new and corrected edition of the Vulgate, and declared it the authentic text to be used in the Church. </p><p>In order to be able to do such work, Jerome prepared himself well. He was a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldaic. He began his studies at his birthplace, Stridon in Dalmatia (in the former Yugoslavia). After his preliminary education he went to Rome, the center of learning at that time, and thence to Trier, Germany, where the scholar was very much in evidence. He spent several years in each place, always trying to find the very best teachers. He once served as private secretary of Pope Damasus (December 11).</p><p>After these preparatory studies he traveled extensively in Palestine, marking each spot of Christ's life with an outpouring of devotion. Mystic that he was, he spent five years in the desert of Chalcis so that he might give himself up to prayer, penance and study. Finally he settled in Bethlehem, where he lived in the cave believed to have been the birthplace of Christ. On September 30 in the year 420, Jerome died in Bethlehem. The remains of his body now lie buried in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.</p> American Catholic Blog O fire of love! Was it not enough to gift us with creation in your image and likeness, and to create us anew to grace in your Son’s blood, without giving us yourself as food, the whole of divine being, the whole of God? What drove you? Nothing but your charity, mad with love as your are! –St. Catherine of Siena

 
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