Category: Inspirational

Mass Enthusiasm With Bishop Barron, Father Mike Schmitz and Lizzie Reezay

So, what’s the big deal about the Catholic Mass anyway? If you’re not sure about that, Internet video is here to help.

But first, a few words from St. Francis of Assisi.

Forget the things St. Francis is said to have said, which he didn’t say (like “Preach always…” and the “Peace Prayer”), here’s something he actually said (or actually wrote), from the Vatican Website:

And as [Jesus] appeared to the Apostles in true flesh, so now also He shows Himself to us in the sacred bread. And as they by their bodily sight saw only His flesh, yet contemplating Him with the eyes of the spirit believed Him to be very God, so we also, as we see our bodily eyes the bread and wine, are to see and firmly believe that it is His most holy body and blood living and true. And in this way the Lord is always with His faithful, as He Himself says: Behold I am with you until the end of the world (Mt 28,20).

That’s the supernatural event happening in every Catholic Mass, but it’s easy to lose sight of that  — especially if you either take Mass for granted or just don’t know much about what’s going on.

Luckily, there are Web resources out there to help — some more engaging than others.

For example, there’s this video from CatholicChicago, which is very informative but not exactly cinematic:

Then there’s this short video from Ascension Press’ “Altaration” series featuring former actor Father Mike Schmitz, which really captures the drama:

Or, where Father Mike takes a more one-on-one approach, in his usual video format:

Los Angeles’ Bishop Robert Barron, known for his “Catholicism” series and much more, has undertaken a new series on the Mass. It is a subject he’s dealt with before, such as in this video from November 2017:

But now he’s taken it to the next level, with an upcoming video series called, unsurprisingly, “The Mass.”

Much of it was filmed at a church in his new hometown of Santa Barbara, Calif. (he’s the auxiliary bishop of the Santa Barbara region of the huge Archdiocese of Los Angeles). The six-episode series launches June. 12.

Episode 1: A Privileged Encounter: The Closest Thing to Heaven on Earth

Episode 2: Called Out of the World: The Introductory Rites

Episode 3: God Speaks Our Story: The Scripture Readings

Episode 4: Responding to Our God: Homily, Creed and Prayer of the Faithful

Episode 5: Preparing for Sacrifice: Offertory and Eucharistic Prayer

Episode 6: The Real Presence Creates Communion: Transubstantiation and Transformation

Click here for the homepage of “The Mass,” where you can sign up for early digital access of episode one; and here for a page with more information. Below is the trailer:

And, last but not least, here’s a video from recent convert to Catholicism (from Church of Christ), 23-year-old YouTuber Lizzie Reezay, a k a LizziesAnswers, whose bubbling-over enthusiasm for the Faith is infectious.

Filmed just prior to her entering the Church this past Easter Vigil, here’s what Lizzie loves about the Mass:

BTW, Family Theater Productions’ own Web series, “Catholic Central,” is working an episode about the Mass, so keep your eyes glued to CatholicCentral.com for when that happens.

In the meantime, here’s our latest effort, a short video on Pentecost (which is this Sunday!).

Hope to see you all at Mass! (Even if you’re not Catholic, we’re always happy to have visitors; here’s a useful guide on Mass etiquette for non-Catholics.)

Image: Word on Fire; Ascension Presents; LizziesAnswers (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.

Habemus Papam! Pope Francis’ Election: March 13, Five Years Ago

On March 13, 2013 — a k a 3/13/13 — Argentinian Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis: the first Francis, the first non-European pope in many centuries, and the first ever from the Western Hemisphere.

It was quite a day and night. Here’s how it unfolded, in videos.

First of all, how is a pope elected? Here’s the answer, courtesy of an excerpt from the “Popes 101” episode of our Web series “Catholic Central”:

The climactic moment that the white smoke belched from the Vatican smokestack:

How Raymond Arroyo and his crew at EWTN saw it at the time:

If you have a little over an hour and a half, here’s the whole shebang:

And lest you forget one of the unexpected stars of the day, a remembrance of the Sistine Seagull:

Habemus Papam! We have a pope!

Image: 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.

The Family Rosary Hits the Airwaves on Relevant Radio

Family Theater Productions’ founder, Venerable Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., was an apostle of family prayer and a champion of the family rosary, especially in media, starting with radio in the late ’40s. Now, the joyful sacramental he loved so much can be heard Monday-Friday live on Relevant Radio.

FamilyRosary.org, sister organization of FTP, is a key sponsor of the new show “Family Rosary Across America,” which broadcasts weekdays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Here’s what Relevant Radio had to say:

This is the first LIVE and interactive rosary prayed at the same time across the entire country. Fr. Dave Heney will lead the rosary LIVE from Los Angeles and listeners will have the opportunity to call in their prayer requests to be prayed for during the LIVE broadcast. Prayer intentions can be shared by calling 888-919-9149 during the show or by emailing rosary@relevantradio.com.

“Relevant Radio is truly thrilled that we can now bring the entire country together on a daily basis to pray the rosary as a family. To our knowledge, this has never happened before, and we are full of hope that this pious devotion will bring many graces to our families, listeners, Church and country,” said Rev. Francis Hoffman “Fr. Rocky”, Executive Director.

“Imagine your joy as you hear people praying for your intentions, and your joy knowing that your prayers are helping others in our family of faith who are in need! Imagine people all across America joining their voices together in the rosary at the same time. Join your voice with them in this live rosary broadcast,” said host Fr. Dave, pastor of St. Bruno Catholic Church in Whittier, CA, and founder of “The University Series.”

We look forward to joining you in prayer with the Family Rosary Across America, heard LIVE from Los Angeles to New York, Monday through Friday at 8pm ET / 5pm PT.

During the month of January, FamilyRosary.org has been using the platform to promote FTP’s new Web series, “Catholic Central,”  which teaches the Faith in short, witty, entertaining and informing (“Enter-f0rming,” if you will) episodes.

We’re working on an episode about the Rosary — in fact, we did principal photography on it in our studios on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood earlier in the month. But we’ve also covered a lot of others topics, like “The Bible,” “Mary,” “7 Deadly Sins” and more, which are available now. Here’s a peek at the trailer:

Click here for the “Catholic Central” Website, which includes episode transcripts and study materials, and here for the YouTube channel.

Image: Courtesy Relevant Radio

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.

Family Prayers by the Numbers (Including the Rosary With ‘Brother Francis’!)

Preschool and kindergarten is an interesting time, where little ones are learning about their world at a very rapid pace. While letters and numbers and language in general is important, young children also begin to learn their core values during this period. Incorporating prayer into their lives in ways that will engage and interest them presents a number of possible benefits—it can be a wonderful teaching tool, even beyond helping them develop a relationship with God.

Here’s an idea that can instill gratitude in your young child, while giving them an opportunity to practice a few other skills as well…

10 – Thank you God for my 10 fingers and 10 toes. Let’s count them all together.

9 – Thank you God for my 9 favorite animals, from the farm and the zoo and the jungle too. Let’s name each one.

8 – Thank you God for my 8 favorite foods. Let me tell you the 8 yummiest things I put in my tummy.

7 – Thank you God for the 7 days of the week. I know how to name them all.

6 – Thank you God for my 6 favorite songs. Let’s sing a verse from each one.

5 – Thank you God for my 5 senses. I use them to hear my favorite songs, taste my favorite treats, feel hugs and kisses from my favorite people, smell my favorite foods and see the beautiful world around me.

4 – Thank you God for my 4 favorite books. Can I tell you what they’re called?

3 – Thank you God for my 3 favorite activities. There are so many things I love to do. Let me see if I can name a few.

2 – Thank you God for the two people who take such good care of me every day, who feed me, read books to me, listen to me when I need to talk, play with me when I’m ready for fun and hold me when I need a hug.

1 – And thank you God for YOU! You are the one who loves me the most, who accepts me exactly as I am and who will always be there whenever I need a friend.

AMEN.

It can be fun to see how your child’s favorite choices will change from time to time… and they will enjoy letting you know. This is a prayer that requires time and patience to move through but the positives that it presents are endless. Give it a try!

Of course, the most famous counting prayer is the Rosary — 5 decades, 5 Our Fathers, 10 Hail Marys per decade, and so on. While a great way to pray, the Rosary is also a good tool for learning counting (and you can do it on your fingers, too).

The animated series “Brother Francis” has a whole playlist of videos (click here for that) to teach kids about the rosary. Here’s the first one to get you started:

Image: 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.

Catholic Star Mark Wahlberg Shares His Faith in Chicago

As a former rapper and underwear model, who has battled drug addiction, and is a convicted felon who spent time in jail as a teen, Catholic Mark Wahlberg knows more than many about the power of faith and forgiveness.

On Friday, Oct. 20, the 46-year-old actor and producer joined Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 at the UIC Pavilion in the Windy City for the Chicago Archdiocese’s (re)ENCOUNTER event, designed to draw young adults into the Catholic faith.

After his time in prison, Wahlberg turned to his parish priest for help getting back on the straight and narrow, but it took a few years to extricate himself from that life. It also took time for Wahlberg to totally turn around his showbiz choices and devote himself to his faith.

As reported in the Chicago Tribune, speaking prior to the (re)ENCOUNTER  event, Wahlberg said:

 I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving, because I’ve made some poor choices in my past.

In particular, he’s not especially proud of his role in the 1997 feature film “Boogie Nights,” in which he played a 1970s high-school dropout drawn into the porn industry. Chicago Inc. asked Wahlberg if he’d ever prayed for forgiveness for a particular movie, and he said:

 “Boogie Nights” is up there at the top of the list.

Regarding his troubled past, Wahlberg said:

I’ve never been shy about sharing my past and the bad decisions I’ve made and being affiliated with gangs, being incarcerated, so absolutely I think they can identify with me on a personal level, and that’s why I’ve continued to try to do as much as I can to help young people.

It’s one thing to give money, or to start programs, but to be there and be able to talk to them, and tell them there is someone who has been through the same things they are going through and was able to turn their life around, and turn it into a big positive. That’s always important.

Now living in Los Angeles, Wahlberg — whose brother, Donnie Wahlberg, stars in CBS’ “Blue Bloods” — is a husband and father of two daughters and two sons.

Here are a couple of clips related to the event — one of a press conference, and the other from the event itself.

And if you have the time, click here for the full video of the event, as streamed by CatholicChicago.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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 in College — We Can Help With That

trinity-college-dublinIt’s fall, you’ve sent your Catholic kids off to — or back to — college. And many, if not most, of those young folks will be heading to something other than a faithful Catholic institution.

Unfortunately, a fair number of those kids will come home at Thanksgiving or Christmas or next summer, either having fallen off from the practice of their faith or abandoning it altogether. That can strain relationships in the family and provide a poor example to younger siblings, who can’t understand why a brother or sister doesn’t want to go to Mass, rails against the Church, starts expounding radically different beliefs, or just gives up on God.

It’s a hard world out there for serious Catholics, and secular college campuses may be among the toughest places around. But there are rays of hope. I have Millennial friends who returned to their faith at secular colleges, with the help of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionaries and Newman Centers, campus Catholic ministries named in honor of Cardinal John Henry Newman.

There’s also help in the literary and digital world.

Yesterday, Oct. 9, the National Catholic Register published a column by Aurora Griffin, a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard graduate who wrote the 2016 book, “How I Stayed Catholic at Harvard: 40 Tips for Faithful College Students,” which probably should be put in the hands of any Catholic collegian.

In her column, Griffin cites catechesis from her father, the witness of her parents’ marriage and weekly Mass attendance (no matter what). You can read the whole thing here; below find an excerpt.

If you do, and you live in the sacraments, grace will overflow from your life and touch everyone around you, including your children. That’s the supernatural benefit. There’s also a natural benefit. Children value authenticity. When you tell your kids not to smoke, and then sneak outside for a cigarette, they internalize it. When you say that your faith is important to you, you have to live a life that backs it up. There is nothing more compelling, on a human level, than the witness of a saint.

So how do you keep your kids Catholic in college? Be the saint that you were meant to be. It’s the simple formula that the Church has held throughout the ages and the narrow path on which we all must begin again every day.

She’s also written for Catholic World Report on keeping her faith at Oxford University; and here’s an interview with the U.K. Catholic Herald:

I had assumed that Harvard is a very secular environment, so this last remark surprised me. Aurora explains that “it was not a Catholic place, but part of the joy for me was feeling like a bit of a rebel. If Harvard has an ideology as an institution, it is secular.” She adds that “As a Catholic, I experienced very little pushback, except when I was defending the Church’s stance on abortion. When I wrote pro-life articles, for example, I neither expected nor received much support.”

And here she is discussing the subject with our friends at CatholicTV, a couple of times:

There’s also help from other sources, including peers such as the members of the New Catholic Generation YouTube Channel:

On the front lines of all this is Father Mike Schmitz, who aside from his YouTube stardom with Ascension Press, is the chaplain for Newman Catholic Campus Ministries at the University of Minnesota Duluth (a secular state school), and the Director of the Office of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Duluth.

Here’s an interview he did this past spring with CatholicTV:

This past January, nearly 13,000 college students, FOCUS missionaries, campus chaplains, alumni, benefactors and sponsors converged on San Antonio, Texas, for SEEK2017, FOCUS’ biennial national conference.

FOCUS’ YouTube channel offers lots of excerpts from the SEEK2017, including a lot from Fr. Schmitz. Click here for the whole playlist, and below find a clip (with the voice of Fr. Schmitz):

Click here and here for two more articles from young people on how to hold to the Faith in college.

I remember going to a special Latin Mass on Jan. 31, 2016, at the Our Savior Chapel at the Caruso Catholic Center at USC. I thought the subdeacon assisting the priests must be a seminarian, as he was so focused and flawless. But when I spoke to him afterward, I discovered he was just a student. He said he wasn’t really into his faith when he came to USC, but when the crush of collegiate life hit him, he discovered he needed Jesus, and that led him to Our Savior.

(That’s him at center, kneeling at the bottom of the steps.)

So, it can happen (and BTW, last time I saw him, he was assisting at another Mass and still going strong).

Image: Trinity College Dublin (Wikimedia Commons)

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.