Entering the Year of Faith through Media

By Caitlin Bootsma

‘The same mighty arm of the conquering Messiah that the Israelites expected for centuries is the one that reaches out of a cattle trough in a manger at Christmas.’

This was just one of many image-laden lines that struck me in Fr. Robert Barron’s “Catholicism” series. I am getting together with a small group of ladies (and their babies) each month during this Year of Faith to watch an episode of the ten-part miniseries and discuss it. This first session focused on the Person of Christ – very appropriate as we begin the Year of Faith, which is ultimately an opportunity to personally become better acquainted with Jesus Christ.

The great thing about a series like this is that it really makes the culture of our faith come alive. We can know that Christ was Jewish or that the Church’s heart is in Rome, but to see amazing vistas of the Holy Land where Christ lived and worked and to zoom in on the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel is a joyful and visual experience that allows us to enter into the richness of our faith.

Certainly, some may find things to criticize about the films. Perhaps they think the music is a little too bombastic or there was a detail that really should have mentioned. However, my first impression is that this series functions as a work of art should do. It presents imagery that leads us to contemplation of a greater truth. In this case, Fr. Barron explains and shows us some of the history, culture and beauty that is part of our faith as Catholics so that we might continue to delve into our Catholic identity when the show ends.

Have any of you seen the series? (It is airing at several of our parishes.) What episode should I be looking forward to watching?

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