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Legionaries Participate in PBS Documentary on John Paul II
ITALY | APOSTOLATE | NEWS
To Be Released This December

dreamtime entertaiment

Rome, November 27, 2007. While crossing a street in Rome earlier this fall, Father Michael Sliney, LC had a providential encounter. As the traffic whizzed by on either side, a cameraman asked him, “Excuse me, do you know where exactly Pope John Paul II died?” Sliney pointed out the Pope’s apartment window, not suspecting that this chance encounter would be the beginning of a big media project.

It turned out that the cameraman was making a television documentary on John Paul II, entitled “A Saint for Our Times,” for Dreamtime Productions.  The documentary was not intended to be an exhaustive biographical treatise; it would simply present the person of John Paul II through the eyes of a wide range of people who were impacted by his life, from Catholic priests to Orthodox Jewish rabbis to major news commentators to the average man on the street. The cameraman needed some priests to
Father Michael Sliney, LC
Father Michael Sliney, LC
provide the Catholic perspective on John Paul II and on what his life and legacy meant for the Church, and Father Sliney was happy to oblige.

After helping with some interview footage, Father Sliney invited the cameraman and the producer to come for lunch at the Legion’s seminary in Rome. He drew up a list of possible contacts for the producers, including Archbishop John Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and brought Father David Daly, LC on board as another priest for the team to interview.

From then on, he and Father David Daly, LC became key players on the new documentary, which will be released on PBS this December. To watch the Dreamtime trailer, click here.

As the documentary itself will reveal, Father Daly and Father Sliney had much to share, having had numerous opportunities to meet the pope, serve his Masses, and interact with some of
Father David Daly, LC 3
Father David Daly, LC
his closest collaborators in the Vatican.

Yet as the two priests shared their experiences with the Pope and their perspective on who he was and what he stood for, they noticed something else taking place: through the interviews, the Dreamtime documentarians were gaining a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the Catholic faith. In fact, some of them were learning the basics for the first time. “It was very providential for them in their walk of faith,” said Father Daly.

Surely the pope was blessing them from behind the scenes!

Educating the Mass Media

The mass media is a powerful educator of the people, and most people assume that the people behind and in front of the camera know what they are talking about. In matters of faith and religion, this is not always (read: often not) the case.

The mass media is called the “fourth power” for a reason: in some cases, its influence is far more powerful than that of the legislative, executive, or judiciary branches of the government. Since the mass media is such a powerful opinion-shaper, it is of utmost importance for Gospel values to penetrate its virtual corridors. This is not only a task for the Legionaries; it is above all a task for qualified Catholic lay apostles.

The Legionaries will continue to give articulate, intelligent, and authentic witness on camera, but they have an equally important role to play behind the scenes. “Our role as priests is to influence people who are influencing others,” Father Sliney said. How? By locating Catholic leaders who are in the media and by teaching them to know and love Christ, upholding standards of decency and truth in their work.

Father Daly agreed that
S. Juan Pablo II
Regnum Christi lay people will soon play an important role in the mass media, and that they should not be afraid to think big. “It’s important for us to challenge people to think on a grand scale. Some people might think, ‘I’ve never been on TV and I never will.’ We have to break that mentality and think outside the box for evangelization.”

John Paul II himself was an outstanding example of “thinking outside the box” for evangelization—especially in his revolutionary way of dealing with the mass media. If this giant of a “saint for our times” was able to educate the hearts and minds behind the mass media, then Regnum Christi members should aspire to do nothing less. The new areopagus of evangelization is waiting on thousands of channels worldwide.


PUBLICATION DATE: 2007-11-26


 
 

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