Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Habit for Sharing the Gospel

About ten years ago, my sister and I, both Daughters of St. Paul, had gone to visit our parents, who lived in the Sacramento area. One weekday morning they took us to a church other than their usual and ushered us into the Eucharistic chapel for Mass. A mere two seconds before Father appeared at the altar, an elderly woman tapped one of us on the shoulder and in a stage whisper gushed, “It’s so nice to see the nuns with their clothes on!”

The habit. One of the most tempestuous issues that swirled around the changes in religious life a few decades ago wasn’t even a fundamental one. But because of its visibility and what it represented for many, including religious themselves, it dominated news articles and broadcasts, family table conversations, and community meetings everywhere. It found its way into every major Church document on consecrated life and plenty of congregational Chapter documents. It sparked lightning bolts of ire in its day, and even now you can hear distant rumbles of a storm that is moving on. The online chats fer or agin, or the occasional remark born of either nostalgia or bitterness resuscitates more than just memories. In addition, a growing number of newer religious communities opt for religious dress, and recent national vocation reports point to its importance for young people in discernment, indicating that the phenomenon, though less intense, won’t die soon.

Clearly Hollywood hasn’t gotten its fill of icons “of the cloth”—women and men. Without words, fabric speaks volumes, symbol of either the sacred or perverted. The Sound of Music, Trouble With Angels, Sister Act, The Da Vinci Code, Doubt—here, robes are front and center. Keep your eyes open, though. Even on the periphery, in film or on TV, you’ll see garb and its accompanying attitudes and lifestyle more or less authentically portrayed. Those of us who’ve been “in” for a few years readily spot the directors who’ve done their homework.

So a few weeks ago in Boston, when we were asked for an interview for an online fashion magazine, we grinned and groaned. As you can see from the video and the accompanying article on, these fashionistas, a journalist and photographers from New York, wanted us to share the meaning of our “uniform” and what it says about our life. The Sisters of St. John the Baptist in Staten Island, the first community they interviewed, suggested that we might have a fashion statement to make too, since the heart of our mission is, of all things, media. The team joined us for Mass and lunch to learn more about us.

One of our sisters in Chicago was in the library last Thursday when a man in his thirties approached her to ask a question. “What’s this about the world coming to an end in a couple of days?”

“It’s a good thing I read the Internet,” she told me afterward, tongue-in-cheek. “I saw that morning that the world was going to end on Saturday. So I had my digital prompting.”

“First of all,” she answered him, “I feel sorry for all those people who sold everything in view of the end of the world, something that’s not even going to happen this weekend.”

“I know what you mean,” he agreed. “But what do you think about that?”

“Well, it’s not a new concept; it’s been around for 2,000 years. Even St. Paul had to deal with it. You remember his letter to the Thessalonians, the people who stopped working because they thought the end of the world was coming? And St. Paul told them to get back to work. That was 2,000 years ago, and this world is still around. Actually even if we knew the world was going to end in two days, I feel God would want us to continue living as human beings since that’s how God is glorified—by living as the human beings God wants us to be.”

That seemed to satisfy him. It was her clothing that told him that here was someone who just might be able to untangle a thorny question…and even go beyond what he had expected, happy to oblige.

The emblem worn by every
Daughter of St. Paul: the Word of
God we share, along with the
means we use--book, radio tower,
and film reel, symbols of all media.
So, besides its ability to simplify our lives, the Daughters of St. Paul have a unique motive for wearing an identifiable sign of our consecration. In an image-oriented culture, it seems to us entirely appropriate for women who are consecrated for a media-related mission to evangelize even by the way we dress. When they see us, people think of God, whether they love him or not, whether they’re Catholic or not. Especially in recent years, I’ve been mistaken for a Muslim wearing a hijab. In the Atlanta Airport, a beautiful woman from the Middle East fingered my veil with admiration, saying that her friend had been looking for something similar and could I tell her where I got mine. Such encounters can jumpstart a sharing of faith.

One of the sisters in the video above mentioned “respect.” How often I’ve heard people invoke that as a reason for us to wear a habit! While no doubt, Sister wasn’t thinking quite along that line, it does recall that far too many have missed the whole servant aspect of religious life, whether we’re in direct ministry or not. The habit should remind people that we have dedicated ourselves, not to privilege, (though God knows we’re grateful for every seemingly small kindness!) but to witness.

FSPs from Ivory Coast
and Congo

Besides, the kind of “respect” that Sister referred to is not characteristic of all North America. In huge swaths of it, indifference and even occasional verbal abuse, pertaining to our life-choice or to the Church, are not unknown, even in so-called “liberal,” tolerant regions. Secularism exacts a toll in unfamiliarity with, and certainly ambivalence toward, the meaning or value of any religious symbol. Relentlessly, though, the habit or uniform of religious reminds people who are inured to the divine—yet who long for their own personal relationship with it—that such a relationship is possible. Indeed, it is the goal of every human life.
An Indian Daughter
of St. Paul

In habit or out of it, a life of vowed poverty, chastity, and obedience is a sign of the transcendent, of what begins here for us all and continues without end. The garb is a startling symbol of such a sign.

Why so many different kinds of habits? Some short, some long, some trim, some full…not to mention the colors and styles. The habit of monastic and cloistered religious lingered long past the emergence of apostolic, or active, religious communities. Since these latter had no other model on which to base their lives until Canon Law changed to accommodate the evolution in consecrated life, they often followed the rules, practices, and styles that preceded them, and in matters of clothing, integrated elements of lay dress common at the time of their founding. We have only to think of Mother Seton with her widow’s cap.
Then Vatican II called for religious to modify their garb, to continue being for our times the signs of distinction they were meant to be, rather than of the separation they had often turned out to be. So religious discarded outmoded styles, and picking up on the lay motifs of their founding years, often donned secular dress—not exactly what the Council seemed to intend. One of the marvels of life in the Church is the multiform way in which the Spirit of God graces the Body of Christ, bringing life to the world through it. Time will tell where wisdom lies.

One of Jehovah’s Witnesses once plucked at my sleeve, chiding me for wearing something that would not save me. Obviously she assumed that I had placed my trust in a piece of cloth, but she was a good reminder to me of the One I do believe in. How often this “simple, modest, and poor” attire does just that, not only for others, but also for us. There’s a kind of cyclic flow to it. What I wear expresses who I am and what I value, then returns to reinforce the dynamic within me that dares to express itself.

Not a bad fashion statement, after all.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How Does the Garden Grow?

Anyone who’s ever tended a garden knows that when a seed or bulb is tucked into the ground, something mysterious happens. We walk by it, drive past it, chat or do business near it, even play on top of it, and it does its growing thing, regardless. Jesus once commented, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, at once he starts to reap because the harvest has come” (Mk. 4:26-29).
The hibiscus is S. Korea's
national flower.

Off and on for the past twenty years, Korea has sent its Daughters of St. Paul to bless the U.S. with their energetic and cheerful presence, especially among thousands of Korean immigrants. Especially in areas where American Daughters either are not present or are not positioned to evangelize this population, these sisters have been using both their technological and spiritual creativity to develop new ways of sowing the Gospel seed, primarily among Korean-speaking adults, who have almost no Catholic media resources.

Their preferred methods have been book and media exhibits in parishes, as well as retreats that integrate the Pauline mission with parish goals. The latest stint began a year ago this month. To date, nearly 50 parishes have been visited, mostly in the Midwest, South, and Southeast.

The retreats, multimedial and prayerful, attempt to address some of the issues facing immigrants from the perspective of faith: inner healing, bridging the generational gap, and resetting priorities in pursuing the American Dream. They’ve been designed to help people rediscover the value of their families, regain gratitude, and recommit themselves to be the light and salt of the world, bringing light to others in the process.

I bet you didn’t know that. Even we’ve hardly noticed the tilling they’ve been quietly been about, unless we get a shout from the field. Such is the work for the Kingdom.

Those whose lives have been touched, though, do notice. Jinmin Kim, who attended a retreat last June, said he felt greater courage to confront his problems and believed that the prayerful experience was a time of love and grace from the Lord. After a play on the Prodigal Son, a couple confessed that after twelve years in a difficult marriage, they had considered separating, but had recently decided to give it another chance. “As we watched the play that you’ve just put on,” they confided, “we prayed and decided that we would go back to God who understands our difficulties so that he may open our hearts and unite us in him.” A media version of the Way of the Cross prompted a woman to share: “It felt as if Jesus was being crucified by my side. I realized that whenever I hurt my neighbors through my words or actions, I am actually crucifying Jesus living inside of them.”

A combination of film and Lectio divina (a time-honored way of praying with Scripture) modeled a new way of prayer and life for another woman. “I used to complain about how little I was given, but as I watched this video, tears ran down my cheeks as those complaints changed to ‘I am such a happy person’ and ‘I had so much given to me.’

Sr. Gemma Hong, FSP
"Later that evening at Lectio divina, I met the Lord within his own words. [Sr. Gemma] said, ‘Calm your thoughts. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, take in his words thoroughly and carefully, and listen to him. Words that make you happy, words that make you sad, and words that make you uneasy. Keep them close to your heart, and he will come to you through them.’

“After that, I experienced a different side of God, which enabled me to see a side of my husband I had never seen before. The Lord’s words led us to love each other more. I always planned to meditate with his words, however hectic my life may have been, even for a mere thirty minutes a day. It was difficult to keep my promises, and I was prone to give up after several days. But this retreat has shown me such an easy way to be with the Lord. I wanted to keep meeting him.”

At the moment Sr. Gemma Hong is the only FSP in that fertile field. Wisely she has built up an entire network of co-workers who drive, offer accommodations, visit local places, and conduct exhibits. “I can't carry on my mission without them,” she says emphatically. She is studying possibilities for these and other Korean-speakers in North America to connect with the Pauline Web site based in Seoul, so they can regularly use its catechetical and spiritual resources.

Meanwhile her books and other media, even those from years gone by, seem to keep the faith-plant alive. A woman approached a parish exhibit table and recognized her as the same sister she had bought a book from when she was a non-Catholic teen in Korea. Déja-vu! When she immigrated to the U.S., her neighbors invited her to another Christian church where they thought she might feel at home. Sr. Gemma smiles, “Then she remembered the book she had bought from a nun in high school and decided to go to the Catholic church instead.”

She hopes to remain in the States for another three years. For now, she’ll join us for her annual retreat and a rest. Then back in the saddle to plant or tend the Gospel in the mid-Atlantic states or on the West Coast.

Sr. Gemma reminisced over the past twenty years of mission in North America, very thankful for God’s providence in every “precious” moment. She wants to “visit all over the USA and Canada to evangelize with St. Paul’s mind to immigrants who do not have access to books, CDs, DVDs, etc., in their own language. I want to spread media culture that states that Christ alone is our hope and in him there is real peace, truth, life and freedom.”

Back row: Sr. Majorina, Sr. Leonora, Sr. Margaret E.
Front row: Sr. Patricia, Sr. Karen Marie
The province of the U.S. and English-speaking Canada extends heartfelt thanks to its out-going provincial government: Sisters Margaret Timothy Sato (provincial superior), Marie James Hunt, Karen Marie Anderson, Joan Paula Arruda, Mary Domenica Vitello, secretary Anne Eileen Heffernan, and treasurer Nancy Michael Usselmann.

At the same time, our province welcomes the incoming government: Sisters M. Leonora Wilson (provincial superior), Karen Marie Anderson, Patricia M. Maresca, Margaret Edward Moran, and Majorina Zanatta. The secretary and treasurer are yet to be determined.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Healing the Wound

Lorraine Lee
For untold billions around the globe, the death of Osama bin Laden last week conjured up images of 9/11. Probably very few, if any, relived that day more vividly than New Yorker Patricia Reilly, whose 37-year-old sister, Lorraine Lee, died in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center, where she had worked.

Since May 2, Patricia has been interviewed by networks, blogs, and print media probing her reactions, memories, and feelings, as if to put a frame around her emotional profile. A mixture of grief and relief characterize her remarks; she struggles to find words to reassure her daughter, Lori, who was named for her aunt. How do you explain such a turn of events to an eight-year-old?

In talking with Patricia this week though, I heard a deeper story flow like an underground stream that has coursed through these past ten years and given life to her and others in unpredictable ways. Osama’s death “didn’t bring Lorraine back. There is no such thing as closure,” she says. But in the years following 9/11 “the blessing is that you do have happiness.” Her star gifts: Lori’s birth in 2003 and the family foundation named for Lorraine.

“Lori is named after her. So she feels so connected with her aunt, even though she didn’t know her. Lorraine sent her to us. Lori was new life in our family." (Patricia and her husband, Brian, also have two sons: Thomas, 22 and Michael, 24.) "Every person in our family has a deep connection with her. She gave new joy to my mother; she made her laugh and want to get up the morning.

Lori and Patricia
“She always wants me to tell her the story of her Aunt Lorraine. Sometimes I don’t want  to tell the story. I just love her and hug her and help her see that the world is a good place and that Lorraine is with God. And we’re going to see her again some day. Like her grandfather and uncle: They want to be with us, but they want to be with God more than they want to be with us. We will too.”

Kimberly Schuler, author of I Will Remember You, published in March by Pauline Books & Media, would applaud how Patricia is walking with Lori in this experience. The book assists children, ages 7-12, through the grieving process while helping them to honor the memory of their loved one.  It reassures them in their feelings of loss and provides a safe space where their hopes can be expressed and their memories can be treasured. Patricia adds, “Literature is important for families when everyone suffers.”

That family suffering is being transformed through the Lorraine Greene Lee Memorial Foundation, that her brother, Tommy, established also in 2003. Each year the family holds a golf outing and raises approximately $25,000. They then use the monies to fund projects that support life and faith, especially in young people. The St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf, Trailblazers Camps, summer initiatives for inner city kids, and the Cross Road Foundation of Staten Island, that helps women in crisis bring their pregnancies to term, all flourish because Lorraine Lee, who never could have children of her own, gives them life.

Patricia learned about the film that the Daughters of St. Paul are producing on their founder, Blessed James Alberione. “We believe his story should be told,” she declared. “Media have progressed” in the ten years since the death of her sister, who “didn’t even have a cell phone.” In addition, Lorraine’s “faith and family were so important to her and guided her life, so [the film] would be something to support, so that other people can learn about him and grow in their faith, especially young people who may be struggling and looking for that connection.” This month the foundation intends to donate $1,000 toward the documentary in Lorraine’s memory. In turn, the film will list her name in the credits, along with others willing and able to contribute a similar amount on their own behalf or someone else’s. (Click here to donate.)

“Through her faith, I had a lot of faith after 9/11,” Patricia reflects. “[Lorraine] was devout. Every Tuesday she had adoration at 9:30 P.M. It would have been her turn that night. It gave me a lot of comfort knowing she was in the state of grace.” With a great sense of humor, Lorraine plunged into what she dubbed the “parades, parties, and picnics” of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Knights of Columbus—she had been a Columbiette. Her husband hadn’t professed any faith for years, but “he said it was through her example of love and faith that he became a Catholic before her death. Now he’s a Eucharistic minister at Holy Child in Staten Island and teaches CCD.”

Last week President Obama met Patricia and other surviving family members at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, NYC. “He hugged me. He was very genuine.” The next time she prays for Lorraine, he—and we—will be right there with her.

“...Nothing can fill the gap when we are away from those we love, and it would be wrong to try and find anything.  We must simply hold out and win through...leaving the gap unfilled preserves the bond between us.  It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap: God does not fill it, but keeps it empty so that our communion with one another may be kept alive, even at the cost of pain...the dearer and richer our memories, the more difficult the separation.  But gratitude converts the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy.”
                          --Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers From Prison, The Macmillan Company, 1967

“How merciful the Lord is with those who repent but there will always be the chance that we may not always be happy with the Lord forgiving and sparing our own enemies. Something we need to ask the Lord to help us with, sometimes every day.”
                                                                                                           --Kerry McMasters

“When the President noted that the military operation to take down Bin Laden had commenced at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, that irony was not lost on me either: In many Catholic Churches, people were, at that exact hour, commemorating the Feast of Divine Mercy with the communal praying of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Voices raised in chant-song, “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!” Repeated ten times, these faithful implore the relentless Mercy of the Divine.”
                                                                                                             --Lisa Burke*
                                     * Originally published by Catholic Online here and reprinted with permission.

“Even though the event of 911 was horrific, we should not forget the outpouring of charity, altruism and love for neighbor that overshadowed the evil in the days and months after 911. Its hard to stay angry, unless you really want to - and love (NOT time) heals all wounds, if we let it.”
                                                                                                       --Kurtis D. Welton


We’re happy to report that, thanks to the generosity of you, our friends and donors, $4,280 was sent to our sisters in Japan to rebuild the Sendai community’s house and Pauline book and media center. The Sendai community already sent their thanks and promised prayers for all of you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

“…As We Forgive…”

Unless you’re a Dominican—or you listened on Friday to a wedding homily by an Anglican bishop at Westminster Abbey—last week’s memorial in honor of St. Catherine of Siena went largely unnoticed. That’s because it fell during Easter Week, when each day, even Friday, is a solemnity, the highest ranking feast on the Church calendar. Solemnities dwarf even giants like Catherine.

Pauline Books & Media just published Paths of Holiness: Wisdom From Catherine of Siena. The book is the latest in its series, the Classic Wisdom Collection, an encounter with the spiritual masters of Catholic tradition. For its inspiration and entertainment value, the introduction by Sr. Lea Hill is worth the book. That makes the section “On Reconciliation” a real bonus. Part of Catherine’s exhortation to Charles V, King of France, is quoted in “Weekly PauLine” on the right sidebar.

In the current socio-political climate, it should gives us pause. Last year it was moving to listen to three of our sisters—Elizabeth Borobia, Raymond Marie Gerard, and Sharon Anne Legere—tell of reconciliation retreats they had led in Boston parishes over the previous months. It’s no secret that this archdiocese has had more than its share of crucifying incidents, so the healing has been all the more poignant.

Outreach was directed to those parishes that suffered either because of clergy sex abuse or parish mergers. The purpose was to bring people together around Luke’s Gospel story of the resurrection appearance on the road to Emmaus (Lk. 24:13f., as it happens, this Sunday’s selection). A multi-media experience, it led people to a personal and communal meeting with Christ in the Word and Eucharist. At one church, parishioners whom the sisters trained to give the mission with them later assumed leadership roles in the community that they hadn’t had before. At another, one woman who had considered not attending said, “Now I understand what Church is really all about—not a building but a community.”

Extending and expanding the reach of the missions was the book and media display that accompanied each one. The hunger for the Word of God awakened by the mission was fed there and facilitated other forms of inner healing. Quite a few said, “I will never read Scriptures the same way again.”

Does such healing of individuals have a cosmic counterpart? Or does the pragmatic nature of “life in the real world” preclude this? Monday’s edition of Ad Age Mediaworks studied the front page of a dozen U.S. newspapers that reported the death of Osama bin Laden. Headlines ranged from matter-of-fact announcements to vengeful, even crude, gloating. The most vitriolic appeared, not surprisingly, in New York. The display of sanctioned hatred, the dancing in the streets, stunned one Boston Globe letter writer into asking what had happened to “her” America.

No doubt most of us remember where we were on 9/11. What stayed with me was the Scripture from Mass the Thursday morning after that terrible Tuesday. Jesus’ challenge in the Gospel reading from Luke was searing: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you and pray for those who maltreat you.” I felt “slapped on one cheek,”  not by al-Qaeda, but by Jesus, and I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to “give him the other”! What in the name of God does this mean two days after my country was attacked? Our chaplain, too, found it hard to wrap his mind and heart around the passage. Sr. Elizabeth told me how several of our sisters in Latin America e-mailed her that they were praying that text with us. Clearly the Word was doing its job. Like Jacob wrestling with the messenger of God, we are meant to grapple with the message of God.

Now with the death of Public Enemy Number One, we have a chance to revisit that message—if we dare. I think we can, accompanied by the now Blessed John Paul II, in his encyclical, The Mercy of God (nn. 4-6).

We often see love and mercy as the opposite of justice. Actually, says John Paul, justice is fulfilled through mercy! He defines justice, not as the act of giving people what they deserve, but as faithfulness to who we are by restoring others to who they are meant to be. In Gospel-speak, that’s summed up in one word: salvation. God isn’t satisfied to leave us in our fallen condition; because of who he is—Love—he is driven to remake us in his image again. This is what grace—God in us—does. This is salvation.

There’s more. In the prodigal son story, the father, to be true to himself, to who he was as father, felt moved, almost obliged, by love and hesed, (faithfulness) to restore his son to himself by reaffirming the young man’s sonship. Through mercy the father (God) made things right again (justice) between himself and his son.

Commenting on the story, John Paul recognizes that mercy doesn’t ignore what went wrong or refuse to hold people accountable for their actions. Individuals and societies must be protected. We see that in his own life, when he visited his assailant in prison to extend his forgiveness. After that meeting, Mehmet Ali Acga  remained behind bars, but to the extent that he accepted the forgiveness given to him, he was free.

There once was a violent man who was so committed to his own idea of God that he imprisoned men and women who refused to accept it and had them executed. What must it have been like to be the son or daughter, brother or sister, husband or wife of one of these martyrs, when Saul of Tarsus—later Paul the Apostle—flipped over to The Way, gave up his jihad, and started preaching on behalf of the God of those martyrs? The process of forgiveness became their journey, not just his, even after his conversion. Human nature being what it is, my guess is that his conversion actually made it harder. Remember the prodigal’s big brother (Lk. 15:11f.).

Conversion of St. Paul,
What if Osama bin Laden had returned genuinely repentant? What would my reaction have been? Would I have asked Caesar for mercy, or would I have demanded that our gladiators finish him off? What does this say, not only about our sense of mercy, but now about our sense of justice?

Justice is not done to families who lost loved ones, simply because a man has died. The world must protect itself against threats, but this is not the heart of  justice. Neither is revenge. Justice will not be done until hearts are changed—“theirs” and “ours.” A reductionist view of justice—giving people what they deserve—is a dead end. Deciding what people deserve varies, depending on which side of the fence they’re on. Who gets to decide? The victor?

Joan of Arc led her army to victory, but wept at the deaths of France’s enemies, because they died unreconciled to God, “unrestored” as John Paul’s might have said. John Paul II, Antoinette Bosco, Corrie Ten Boom, the Amish community who reached out to the man who senselessly butchered its children, and Rwandans who now share the secret of inner healing with other Africans are just some of our world’s contemporary icons of forgiveness. I was awed by comments of Harry Waizer reported in Monday’s New York Times. The man had sustained third-degree burns in the World Trade Center, but when asked, he said he couldn’t bring himself to rejoice over the death of yet another person (and he used that word), even if it was bin Laden.

The Passover ritual, which celebrates God’s salvation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, concludes with God’s exhortation to pray for the Egyptians who had drowned in the process, since “no one shall celebrate the destruction of any of His human creations.”  Maybe, as pundit Jon Stewart confessed, it’s too early and we’re too close to be rational at this moment. Perhaps being rational is not where we need to be. We can start by being prayerful. That certainly is what Pope Benedict is recommending, seeing in this event a call to reflect on our responsibility to others and to God.

And this Friday, go to the movies. A new film, There Be Dragons, premieres in select cities.

From the Web site: “Roland Joffé, the director who brought us the highly acclaimed and deeply spiritual film The Mission has returned to his roots with the epic movie There Be Dragons, a powerful story of war, tragedy, love and redemption. Set during the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War [1930s], Dragons tells the story of two childhood friends who become separated during the political conflict to find themselves on opposite sides as war erupts.

“One chooses the path of peace and becomes a priest while the other chooses the life of a soldier driven by jealousy and revenge. Each will struggle to find the power of forgiveness over the forces that tore their lives and friendship apart.”

The priest happens to be Josemaria Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei. I attended the pre-screening last fall, and like several in the audience, could not have definitively told you what the movie was primarily about. I understand that some improvements have been made, but I haven’t viewed the finished product yet.

The cinematography is worthy of a Joffé film and vividly portrays the violence of the age. For that reason it is by no means a film for children. I found the fiction a little too unconvincing, yet was convicted by the message. It is less a film about Escrivá—in fact, it is no longer being billed as such—than a portrayal of the destructiveness of vengeance and the healing power of reconciliation. Definitely worth seeing and absorbing.

“I think Roland’s message is a lesson in how we can go beyond the ego, transcend the human flaws that we all live with and threaten to imprison us. I think it’s about how can we do that not just as people, but as societies” Actor Charlie Cox (Escrivá).

                                            Prayer for World Leaders    

God our Father, through the intercession of Blessed John Paul, grant the leaders of nations a clear vision of the dignity of all peoples and a commitment to seek the well-being of all. Give our world leaders the perseverance needed to work through the complex issues of governance. Bless them with integrity of thought, word, and deed so that their efforts will always flow from your plan of justice and mercy. Protect them in times of danger. Comfort them in times of discouragement.
     May Blessed John Paul’s example inspire them to solidarity with the poor and working people, and to a tempering of their power and influence with true compassion. Amen.
From: Prayers to Blessed John Paul II