Category: Faith and Family on the Internet

‘Silence’ Star and Former Marine Adam Driver Fulfills a Wish for a Veteran’s Family

Adam Driver came from a small Midwestern town to L.A. with dreams of acting. When that didn’t work out, he volunteered for the Marines shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. He met people from all over the country, from different walks of life, and found a band of brothers.

An mountain-biking injury prevented him from being able to deploy to the front with his unit, but he did go on to have a career as an actor. Most recently, he’s playing Kylo Ren in the Disney “Star Wars” movies, and played the Jesuit priest who didn’t become an apostate in 17th-century Japan in Martin Scorsese’s movie “Silence.”

This summer, Budweiser is honoring those who, like Driver, wore the uniform of their country, by partnering with Folds of Honor, a foundation that provides scholarships to the families of wounded and fallen service members.

Here’s how the foundation describes itself:

Since 2007, the Folds of Honor has carried forth this singular, noble mission. To provide educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service-members.

Our motto says it best.

Honor Their Sacrifice.  Educate Their Legacy.

Last week, Budweiser posted this video to its Facebook page, in which Driver visits the home of a fellow veteran. The man’s daughter wrote to Folds of Honor, talking about her father’s service, his guilt over — like Driver — being prevented from deploying because of injury, and how she is struggling to finance her education.

I’ve always thought the best use of celebrity and business success is to turn around and use both to help people. As we remember those who risked life, liberty and sacred honor to found our country this Fourth of July, it’s great to see that Driver and Budweiser are making good use of their blessings.

Get a hankie.

And if you want to hear more about Driver’s military experiences, here you go (there’s also a dramatic reading after Driver’s talk, with some very rough language).

Image: Courtesy Budweiser/Folds of Honor

Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook. Visit our YouTube and Ustream Channels for our contemporary and classic productions.

‘Catholic Central’: Family Theater Productions Announces New Web Series for Fall!

So excited! After many months of planning, writing, casting, rehearsal and production right here in our studio on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, we here at Family Theater Productions are proud to announce our upcoming Web series, “Catholic Central.”

Those who stopped by our booth at this past winter’s Religious Education Congress in Anaheim met our stars, Kaiser Johnson (EWTN’s “Saints vs. Scoundrels,” The CW’s “Vampire Diaries” and Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow”) and John Paul the Great Catholic University graduate Libby Slater, and got a preview of the series.

Now we’re revealing it to the world!

Click on www.CatholicCentral.com to get on the mailing list for new information.

#ENTERFORMING DESCRIBES NEW WEB SERIES FROM FAMILY THEATER PRODUCTIONS
Dubbed both entertaining and informing by young adults, series launches on YouTube in September

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – “Catholic Central” offers entertaining and authoritative answers to questions about Catholic thought, spirituality and practice. Family Theater Productions assembled a team of witty writers, appealing hosts and learned theologians to produce a collection of videos that entertain, enlighten and inspire.

The first collection of short videos will be released on September 15 and topics include:

  1. Problem of Evil
  2. Catholic Social Teaching
  3. Creation and Evolution
  4. Being Human
  5. The Mass
  6. Praying with the Bible: Ignatian Meditation
  7. Baptism
  8. Pope
  9. The Seven Deadly Sins
  10. The Gospels

“We worked with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate to conduct focus groups of young adults across the country to determine what topics were important to the participants and what questions they needed answered,” said Susan Wallace, Marketing Director of Family Theater Productions. “Other information on the programs was shared and has been helpful as we finalize the programs.”

“The show hosts, Kaiser Johnson and Libby Slater, are a quirky duo that move through the content quickly and make it interesting and fun,” said Wallace.

The series is produced by David Impastato and Father David Guffey, C.S.C., directed by Danny J. Boyle, and cinematography is by Steve Taylor.

Catholic Central is a production of Family Theater Productions, a member ministry Holy Cross Family Ministries, founded by Servant of God Patrick Peyton in 1947. A candidate for sainthood, Father Peyton was one of the most influential American Catholic priests of the 20th century. For more information on Family Theater Productions’ media projects – www.FamilyTheater.org.

For information, contact:

David Kindy

508-747-1832
508-863-2534 cell

Here’s a peek at the trailer:

Images: Courtesy Family Theater Productions

Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook. Visit our YouTube and Ustream Channels for our contemporary and classic productions.

TV Ad Turns Around the Bad-Dad Story of “Cat’s in the Cradle’

In his 1974 folk song “Cat’s in the Cradle,” Harry Chapin sings about a father who, too late, discovers that his adult son has become just as neglectful of him as he was of the boy growing up.

Among the lyrics:

I’ve long since retired and my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, I’d like to see you if you don’t mind
He said, I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kid’s got the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

Now, investment firm TDAmeritrade has released a new ad that turns that song on its head, reimagining it with a father who gets it right the first time. With Father’s Day coming up, it’s a great reminder of the vital importance of dads, adoptive dads, foster dads — and spiritual fathers, including good priests — in the lives of children.

It’s an investment that returns endless dividends, even in heaven.

Get some hankies.

Image: YouTube Screenshot

Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook. Visit our YouTube and Ustream Channels for our contemporary and classic productions.

Former “Bad Boy” Mark Wahlberg Speaking Out for His Catholic Faith

Today, June 5, is the 46th birthday of actor and producer Mark Wahlberg, a Catholic and, like all of us, a work in progress.

In his youth, he committed crimes and acts of violence and served time in jail for them. As a rapper and actor, his music and roles have often employed foul language, overt sexuality and violence. He was also an underwear model.

But if a repentant thief crucified next to Christ could find his way into the kingdom, there is hope for us all.

In recent years, Wahlberg publicly recommitted to his Catholic faith and married longtime girlfriend Rhea Durham — at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Beverly Hills, where he has been a regular Mass attendee. Their children also attend a Catholic school.

While not all of his movies are family fare, he was a star and producer for “Deepwater Horizon,” the film about the 2010 explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and “Patriots Day,” about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Both of these films celebrated the heroism of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

He’s also spoken out publicly about the difference returning to the Church as made in his life.

From 2012, on Piers Morgan’s now-defunct CNN talk show:

As the Master of Ceremonies for the World Meeting of Families festival in 2015, during Pope Francis’ visit to America …

He also had to make a little apology to Pope Francis for his raunchy movie, “Ted” …

And from 2016, a viral video calling for vocations to the priesthood, and talking about what priests have meant to him …

We all make mistakes, sometimes terrible ones, and when you become a public figure, there’s no escaping your past. But if the best use of fame is to help others, Wahlberg is making good use of his celebrity to show what repentance and redemption can mean.

Happy Birthday, Mark!

Image: Courtesy Amazon Prime

Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook. Visit our YouTube and Ustream Channels for our contemporary and classic productions.

5 for First Friday: Family-Friendly Viewing for June — ‘American Girl,’ ‘Funderdome,’ ‘Free Willy’

It’s the First Friday of the month, so we’re spotlighting some family friendly viewing options for June.

“An American Girl Story: Summer Camp, Friends for Life”: An Amazon Original Special premiering on Prime Video on June 8, this “American Girl” story follows the characters Z, Paz and Drew. Their friendship is cemented at S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, math) camp when they find themselves working together to solve a summer mystery, without the help of smartphones or computers. The story encourages the kind of problem solving and perseverance vital to the academic success of young women in a fun way that will engage girls.

“Steve Harvey’s FUNDERDOME”: Based on the success of “Shark Tank,” ABC is hoping for another hit with this summer series, also from producer Mark Burnett, which helps contestants to chase the American dream. Premiering Sunday, June 11, “FUNDERDOME” is a seed-funding competition show where two hopeful entrepreneurs face off to win over a live studio audience. The prize? Financing of their ideas, products or companies.

In each of the 13 episodes, the audience will represent the “customer” and votes to determine the winner. After each round, and before host Steve Harvey reveals the results of the crowd’s majority vote, the entrepreneurs will be given a choice to cash out and walk away for a lesser amount. But if an entrepreneur cashes out, they forgo the opportunity to win the whole cash prize – a good move if they lost the crowd vote, but a bad move if they would have won it.

“Charlotte’s Web”: Available on Amazon Prime, the 1973 animated classic, based on E.B. White’s children’s book, follows Wilbur the pig, who worries about reaching the end of the season when he knows he’ll likely end up on someone’s dinner table. But a wise and sweet spider named Charlotte promises to spin a web that will save young Wilbur from his otherwise inevitable fate. The 2006 live-action version, starring Dakota Fanning, is also available, on Hulu.

“Free Willy”: In keeping with the animal-lover theme, this 1993 feature film, available on Amazon Prime, follows a young boy in foster care who bonds with an orca in captivity and does everything possible to save the whale and set him free. Its sequels, “Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home” and “Free Willy 3: The Rescue,” are available on Hulu.

“Battle of the Network Stars”: In a revival of the popular competition series that aired in the 1970s and ’80s, MMA fighter Ronda Rousey and NFL star DeMarcus Ware are the captains of rotating teams made up of 100 television stars from 14 different network and cable companies. Premiering June 29 on ABC, the summer series allows offers celebrities competing in events such as swimming, running, basketball-dunking and obstacle courses.

As in the original, the competition is held at Pepperdine University, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, California.

It may be an old concept, but one that families can always enjoy together.

Here’s a peek at the original, including Lynda Carter, the original “Wonder Woman”:

Korbi is a former full-time TV blogger, writing for sites such as E! Online and Yahoo!. She is now a full-time mom of twin boys. In her free time, she moonlights as a Marriage, Family & Individual Therapist.

Image: Courtesy Amazon Prime

Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook. Visit our YouTube and Ustream Channels for our contemporary and classic productions.

Protecting Kids (and Their Souls) in a Media/Digital World

While parents are rightly concerned what their kids see on television or hear in school, every laptop, tablet and smartphone opens a door to a digital world where the best and worst of humanity is on view.

There is software to help parents filter what their children can see — click here for a current rundown of top offerings, via PC Magazine — but social media especially opens up risks of trolling and cyberbullying, and may allow child predators to target potential victims.

How is the Church Helping Protect Kids in the Digital World?

This coming October, the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome is host for a congress called “Child Dignity in the Digital World.”

From Vatican Radio:

Spearheaded and hosted by the University’s Center for Child Protection headed by Prof. Hans Zollner SJ, the congress entitled “Child Dignity in the Digital World” will examine new forms of abuse children can be subjected to in the digital world, and discuss the risks and challenges of the digital age and its impact on the dignity of children.

The congress foresees the participation of global scientific and technical experts and decision makers, and aims to promote appropriate action.

The International event will take place from 3 to 6 October in partnership with WePROTECT Global Alliance. At the end of the congress a declaration will be presented to Pope Francis who is scheduled to receive the participants in audience.

Although hazards to children abound online, a lot of responsibility lies with those who create content, and those whose job it is to curate content, including parents and teachers. Even if they’re kept away from a TV screen, in many families, it’s extremely difficult to protect innocent young eyes from images on social media.

What Does Pope Francis Have to Say About Digital Communication?

A lot of what’s televised and posted online does no good for adults, either.

In his recent address for the 51st World Communications Day in January, Pope Francis spoke directly to content creators, appealing to the better angels of their nature:

I would like, then, to contribute to the search for an open and creative style of communication that never seeks to glamorize evil but instead to concentrate on solutions and to inspire a positive and responsible approach on the part of its recipients. I ask everyone to offer the people of our time storylines that are at heart “good news.”

What Can Parents and Parishes Do?

Along with commercial filtering programs, fellow Catholics can help each other find great, faith-affirming family content. Here’s one great resource, “Strong Catholic Family Faith,” formed with the help of experts from the dioceses of Jefferson City, Missouri; San Jose, California; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Joliet, Illinois.

CatholicFamilyFaith.org: As described, “The Strong Catholic Family Faith website has been created to assist parish and school leaders in finding the best and most relevant content and experiences for developing faith-filled Catholic families.  All of these resources have been selected and reviewed by the Project Team and drawn from trusted sources.”

The site offers media resources (including reviews), faith practices, the liturgical calendar, parent and grandparent formation, information on the sacraments, and leadership training and other initiatives for adults and youth.

It’s impressive.

Here’s one of the videos:

Image: Courtesy Pixabay

Learn more about Family Theater Productions’ upcoming, new and vintage productions as well as our Hollywood Outreach Programs; and, of course, you’ll find us on Facebook. Visit our YouTube and Ustream Channels for our contemporary and classic productions.