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Watching for God


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Movies are great fun, and have been for a very long time. My 98 year old grandmother remembers her father taking her and her younger brother to see the first "talkie" in 1927. My mom tells stories about how she used to go to the movies on Saturday afternoons at the end of the Depression and the beginning of World War II. All the kids would save their ticket stubs and watch the steady stream that was either leaving the theater to go to confession, or returning for the rest of the matinee. If you timed it just right, Father wouldn't have much of a line, and you wouldn't have to miss much of the film. Of course, if you did, you could just stay long enough into the next showing to catch what you missed. And if you were lucky, like her neighbor Monroe always seemed to be, you could win a door prize and come home with a place setting of dishes, or even a ham, tucked under your arm.

I remember movies as the cheap outing they used to be. Our small group of high school friends would go to a movie together, and then discuss it over pizza afterward. In college it was even easier. There were almost always films being shown in a science lecture hall on Friday and Saturday nights. They weren't first run movies or necessarily my favorites, but they were free and only walking distance away. And, once I got past the opening sequences of floating women, the almost endless succession of James Bond movies was pretty enjoyable, as long as nobody expected me to be able to tell them apart. (Was that the one that had the huge guy with the metal teeth?)

Despite technological advances in how movies are produced and delivered to the people who want to see them, and changes in themes and content, the experience of watching a film has remained remarkably the same. Want to shake that up a bit? Read on.

The charism of the Daughters of St. Paul, and the whole Pauline family of religious orders and their allied institutes, involves using the media to proclaim faith in Christ and lead others to him. That doesn't just mean producing Catholic products in the form of books, DVDs, music, radio, digital, and whatever-is-next media. It also means taking all the media and messaging that is already out there -- including secular entertainment -- and listening for the voice of God in it and through it.

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