The panel for the special screening of THE WAY last Saturday night in Los Angeles; photo by Frederic Charpentier
On Nov. 5, Catholics in Media Associates (CIMA) of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, in collaboration with Mt. St. Mary’s College Chalon Campus, hosted a screening and panel discussion of Emilio Estevez’s new film “The Way.”
I had the honor of interviewing Sheen about the film for NCR, so being part of this event was an added grace. I can’t think of another way to put it.
“The Way” is the story of California widowed father and ophthalmologist, Tom, who goes to France to bring home the body of his son, who died in an accident just as he was to embark on the famous Camino to the Shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. He finds three companions along the way, a pilgrimage that changed him from choosing a life to living it, opened up his view of the world from his small little golf course to countries and people he never thought about, that healed a father-son relationship, even in death, and celebrates the divine hope of reconciliation, even in a church that can be, as the character Jack says, a “temple of tears.”
On this day in 1992, four Los Angeles Police Department officers were acquitted of the beating of Rodney King and Los Angeles erupted in rioting. The beating of King, which had been video tapped, the trial and acquittal were seminal events in the history of race relations in this country.
Last year I interviewed the Rev. Scott D. Young about his annual pilgrimage to the site of the flash point of the civil unrest following the acquittal of the police officers in the Rodney King case.
NCR published the article and it can be read here: Urban Mystic at the Crossroads
I believe this outtake captures the essence of Scott’s passion for the city, a true urban mystic.
You can read Scott’s blog at The Culture Vulture Report
A couple of Saturdays ago I received a call from Soozie Eastman, Director of Programs for the Humanitas Prize. For the second year I was going to be one of the script readers to decide on which ones will receive this prestigious award trophy and cash prize. All the readers for television and film scripts were having dinner together that evening to pick up the parcels and share some inspiration. Soozie asked me to say grace.
I thought I would share this on my blog so that everyone could join in prayer to support the good work of the Humanitas Prize and to support film and television writers who seek to explore the human condition and promote human dignity in the stories they tell.
Paulist Father Elwood “Bud” Kieser (1929 – 2000) founded the he HUMANITAS Prize in 1974 “to celebrate television programs which affirm the dignity of the human person, explore the meaning of life, enlighten the use of human freedom and reveal to each person our common humanity.” You may remember Fr. Kieser as the producer of the films Romero(1989), Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story (1996) and the “Insight” series (1960 -1983) for television.
I accepted Soozie’s invitation and did a search for “dinner grace” and guess what came up? A link sponsored by Target that wanted to sell me the DVD Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. That’s appropriate, I thought, since the readers come from various cultural and faith background. But since Target wasn’t giving anything up on the prayer front, I decided to draw on my favorite cinema genre for inspiration: food movies.
Here is my prayer:
Dear God, come and be with us as we gather here from our Places in the Heart , at a restaurant that is a step above a Diner , to East and Drink as Men and Women , let us be kind to the Waitress , enjoy Tortilla Soup, Ratatouille , or the Mystic dimensions of Pizza , or whatever we choose; bless this Feast and those who prepared it with the generosity and totally outpouring of self of a Babette; may it to become Soul Food, that will give us strength to confront the ducks in our lives as Julie&Julia Child admonished us; help us make this a Big Night for writers and all creative people, knowing that , as Primo said in the film, “to eat good food is to know God”. May this meal be capped by just a little Chocolat as we begin the Humanitas Prize process once again this year with No Reservations. And whether we are Mostly Marthas or Marios, give us the grace to slow down and savor the fruits of the labors of these writers to choose the very best stories.
(Here is an article about Humanitas director Cathleen Young and the Humanitas New Voices initiative written by Neely Swanson in the WGA journal “Written By”; click on “Cathleen Young”)