You could call it coincidence — or you could call it Divine Providence for the Year of Mercy …
During Lent 2015, last March, Pope Francis announced a Holy Year of Mercy, to start on Dec. 8, 2015, and run through Nov. 20, 2016.
According to the movie’s official Website, pre-production on the documentary “The Original Image of Divine Mercy: Untold Story of an Unknown Masterpiece” began pre-production two months before that news broke. Wrote the producers on the FAQs page:
We figured the timing was perfect, if not inspired: a film about Divine Mercy for the Year of Mercy!
Featuring guest appearances by such Catholic luminaries as comedian Jim Gaffigan, musician Harry Connick Jr., author George Weigel and Los Angeles’ Bishop Robert Barron, the film explores the history of the only tangible image of the Divine Mercy ever seen by nun Saint Faustina — whose revelatory vision at her convent in Vilnius, Lithuania, inspired the image and the Divine Mercy devotion.
Painted by Eugeniusz Kazimirowski starting in 1934, the artwork was forced into hiding when the anti-Catholic Soviet Union occupied Vilnius. According to the documentary, it was stolen, smuggled and even rolled up and put into storage.
Says the film Website:
Finally, two humble nuns accepted the “mission impossible” and transported the miraculous painting across the dangerous border between Lithuania and Belarus. In 2005, after 75 years of wandering, the painting was placed in a permanent home in a beautiful shine in Vilinius, according to the wishes of Saint Faustina and [her confessor] Blessed Fr. Michal Sapocko.
There are many versions of the Divine Mercy image, but the Website asks:
Is the Original Image unique for reasons above and beyond the fact that it is the only image of the Divine Mercy that Saint Faustina ever saw? What qualities about the painting are integral to the devotion and are unique to the Original Image? Did John Paul II know about the Original Image when he canonized Saint Faustina? Does this Image have a special role in the … Year of Mercy?
In the film, Connick says, “This painting is an attempt to make the unfathomable fathomable.”
Says Gaffigan: “Obviously, she saw God.”
Parishes and other organizations can book screenings of the film, which will also be available in Spanish for screenings on or after March 18.
The Website also says it will not be available for streaming over the Internet.
Here’s a sneak peek:
Per a decree from John Paul II, Divine Mercy Sunday is always the second Sunday of Easter, which is, this year, April 3.
Image: YouTube screenshot