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Monday, October 3, 2011

Catholicism on Public Television...

The ten-part documentary on the history, beauty and grandeur of Catholicism, which I have blogged about several times over the past year (see here, here, and here), is set to start airing across the country on PBS stations this week (the first two episodes in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale will air on WLRN on Wednesday at 8:00pm and 9:00pm EST).

The documentary, simply named Catholicism, was created by Archdiocese of Chicago priest and well known social media evangelist, Fr. Robert Barron, and NBC Today Show correspondent and acclaimed filmmaker, Mike Leonard, who served as the Executive Producer on the project.

Barron and Leonard assembled a team of highly experienced television and film professionals, who wanted to make the highest quality series possible, in an effort to try to capture some of the essence and splendor of the nearly two thousand-year-old Church.

The undertaking led the production crew to over 50 different locations in 16 countries around the world, including the Holy Land, France, Italy, South America, India, Uganda and much more.  

In the series’ home site, Leonard states that producing the documentary was a life-changing experience.

“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. Whatever your belief or background, there is much to gain from this deep and profound excursion into spirituality, logic, and the human experience."

The quality and scope of the work was enough to convince PBS, which is not exactly a bastion for Christian programming (or religious, for that matter, unless Deepak Chopra is involved), to decide to air the documentary.  And, the elaborate endeavor is getting rave reviews.

Pope John Paul II biographer, George Weigel called it, “the most important media project in the history of the Catholic Church in America… Catholicism could well become one of the most significant efforts ever to advance what Pope John Paul II called the New Evangelization.”

National Review Online Editor, Kathryn Jean Lopez, puts it this way:

You don’t have to be Catholic, want to be Catholic, or even like Catholics to go on this journey. It’s not a homily. Barron doesn’t preach at you. Perhaps wowed by the high-def wonder of it all, more than one PBS station agreed it is worth a look.

The series does not challenge just the viewer, but also the author: Barron’s producer occasionally questions him on camera.

In the midst of years of scandal and crisis headlines, what is good and beautiful about Catholicism still remains. Why? And why would you want it? The series presents answers to these questions, too.
And yet, it’s also the best sermon you’ve ever heard. The best class you’ve ever taken. Or the homily you’ve never heard and the classroom you never had available to you.
On Wednesday, the first episode takes the viewers to the Holy Land and the beginning of the Church. The second episode will focus on God and the Holy Trinity. To check your local listings, see here.

Also, check out this powerful new preview...


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