Category: Inspirational

The Eucharist: Bishop Barron, Flannery O’Connor, Catholic Central and the Real Presence

What is the source and summit of the Catholic faith? The Eucharist. And, according to author Flannery O’Connor, when a fellow writer said it was a beautiful symbol: “If it’s a symbol, to hell with it.”

Bishop Robert Barron is busy traveling, shooting new episodes for his “Catholicism: The Pivotal Players” series, including one on O’Connor, whose sometimes hard-edged tales touch on the deepest recesses of the human heart and the ever-present chance of redemption.

In the clip below from the O’Connor episode, posted Aug. 14, Barron can be seen in the rose gardens at Yaddo, an artist’s colony and retreat near the famed Thoroughbred racecourse in Saratoga Springs, in upstate New York. It includes the above quote and more.

As demonstrated by the exodus of many disciples as soon as Christ started talking about the true nature of the Eucharist, it’s a hard thing to accept: that the Son of God can be fully present — Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity — under the appearance of bread and wine.

In Family Theater Productions’ online series “Catholic Central,” we consider the Eucharist to be so important that we dedicated two episodes to it. It’s a serious subject, and host Kai (Kaiser Johnson) and Libby (Elizabeth Slater) treat it as such, but with the lighthearted touch seen throughout the show (which is still releasing new episodes regularly).

So, how lighthearted?

Take a look at “Eucharist 101” (full episode page here, with transcript and study materials):

And the follow-up episode, about the “Real Presence” (full page here):

Catholics love Mary and the saints, but Jesus is the undisputed Lord, Savior and King, who gives Himself to us at every Mass, in the humblest and most miraculous of ways.

Enjoy all the episodes at CatholicCentral.com.

Images: Courtesy Word on Fire; Family Theater Productions

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.

Bishop Barron’s ‘Catholicism’ Marks 10 Years With Video and Free Online Screening

A decade ago, then-Father Robert Barron started filming his acclaimed “Catholicism” series, which premiered in the fall of 2011 on PBS, and has since gone on to become one of the most beloved and acclaimed presentations about the Faith.

Available on DVD and online, “Catholicism” not only became a mainstream media phenomenon but a catechetical one as well, with many Catholic educators using the show to teach both children and adults.

Emphasizing the scope, history, beauty and faces of the Church past and present, “Catholicism” set a gold standard for portraying the Catholic Church in the mainstream media. Beautifully shot all around the world and carefully researched, it’s leagues beyond many sensational popular documentaries and movies that often trivialize, sensationalize or outright misrepresent the Church, her teachings and her history.

From the original press release for the PBS debut:

“The filming of the Catholicism series was one of the most exciting and rewarding periods of my life,” said Fr. Barron. “Our team traveled the globe to capture some of the beauty, truth, and texture of Catholicism. I am thrilled that people across the country will have the opportunity to share in the series,  and I hope to engage the imaginations of both Catholics and non-Catholics.“

“This series changed the way I think and act. The global settings were stunning, but it was Fr. Barron s brilliant insights on life s most challenging issues that shook me to the core,’ admitted [executive producer and filmmaker] Mike Leonard. “Whatever your belief or background, there is much to gain from this deep and profound excursion into spirituality, logic and the human experience,” he added.

In this sweeping documentary, Father Barron tells the story of Catholicism around the world using art, architecture, literature, music and all the riches of the Catholic tradition. The production crew travels to some of the most magnificent and sacred sites in Jerusalem, Rome, Krakow, Warsaw, New York, Istanbul, Ephesus, Lourdes, Mexico City, Athens, Corinth, Mexico City, Uganda, Manila, Sao Paolo, Auschwitz, Kolkata, Philadelphia, Chicago, and beyond.

The team was granted exclusive access to film privately in many locations inaccessible to the general public. Highlights include some of the world s architectural and artistic masterpieces and most sacred places: The Dome of The Rock, the Hagia Sophia, the tomb of Mother Teresa, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, rare views of the Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Pope’s private gardens, Chartres, Notre Dame, and Cologne Cathedrals, as well as one of the largest religious celebrations on the planet, the feast of the Ugandan martyrs.

To mark the occasion, now-Bishop Barron and executive producer Steve Grunow of Barron’s Word on Fire apostolate have released this video:

Word on Fire has also made the whole 10-part series free for viewing online for a limited time.

Click here to learn more.

Images: Courtesy Word on Fire

 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.

‘God Bless America’: Boston Police Partners Make Sweet Patrol-Car-Karaoke Music

As America celebrated the Fourth of July yesterday, many law-enforcement officers were deployed to keep cities and towns safe for fireworks, parades and BBQs.

In Boston, the cradle of the American Revolution, two longtime patrol partners decided to take a page from the book of British-born latenight TV host James Corden, who does “Carpool Karaoke” singing duets with major stars for his “Late, Late Show” on CBS.

Officers Stephen McNulty and Kim Tavares — both musicians in their free time — filmed themselves singing “God Bless America” as they tooled around Beantown.

Have a listen:

Here are the full lyrics to “God Bless America,” penned by legendary songwriter Irving Berlin:

God bless America, land that I love.
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above.
From the mountains to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam.
God bless America, my home sweet home.
God bless America, land that I love,
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above.
From the mountains to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam.
God bless America, my home sweet home.
From the mountains to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam.
God bless America, my home sweet home,
God bless America, my home sweet home.

We hope you had a beautiful holiday — and God Bless Us All!

Images: Courtesy BPDNews.com

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.

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.