The Tide Is Turning In Hollywood. Good News To Report From Tinseltown. Surrounded By A Culture Of Excess & Anything Goes, Faithful Catholics In The Film & TV
Industry Show The Way By Dave Hartline (First Of Three Parts, See Pictures Below)
had the privilege of being asked to speak in Hollywood about my book, The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism.
process, I met some amazing, faithful people in the entertainment business. While many casual observers see Hollywood , especially after Sunday’s Academy Awards show, as being a
collection of social and political nere do wells. There exists a group of faithful believers who are a beacon of light to all they meet. They are the practicing Catholics. Indeed, they are
bright light to the faithful around the world. They live their daily faith in an exemplary manner. Many of these faithful Catholics are young people who show their faith by the joy of their
work and its spirit is shown by their worship. A good number go to daily Mass. Many needed no convincing of my book, The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism
main premise. They are living it and seeing it with their own eyes.
While many were exuberantly young and faithful Catholics, others are not so young. They have the advantage of seeing faith with a few more years under their belt. Father Wilfred (Willy)
Raymond CSC heads up Family Theater Productions. He is well respected in Hollywood for his ability to live out his orthodox Catholic
faith in the midst of a culture that hardly seems to share the same ideas or beliefs. He leads a storied group started by Father Patrick Peyton CSC whose cause is being considered for
canonization. Father Peyton started Family Theater in 1947 and died in 1992. It was at Family Theater where Father Peyton coined the phrase, "The Family That Prays Togther Stays Together."
His vision involved seeing Hollywood as a place where Catholics could come to learn how to evangelize the faith through the medium of film and mass communications. Pope John Paul II called
Father Peyton “champion of the rosary.” T he Congregation for the Causes of Saints opened his cause for sainthood in 2001.
The following is part of my conversation with Father Willy Raymond (part II on the Rosary Bowl can be read tomorrow)
Dave Hartline What are some projects that Family Theater gets involved with in Hollywood ?
Father Willy Raymond We do lots of things but our Angelus Award is probably what we are known for as far as film goes. This is an award that Family Theater
gives to the best film that we select from hundreds of film projects sent by various film schools. Each year it gets bigger and bigger. This is an opportunity for faithful filmmakers to
show their talents.
Dave Hartline What are some of the other things that Family Theater does that may not get as much publicity?
Father Willy Raymond We have our “Prayer & Pasta” get together which features speakers on topics of interest to those faithful Catholics in the
industry. You are speaking tonight so you get to see what it’s all about. In addition, there are over 5,000 billboards across the US with messages of faith that we help put
up. There is no charge to us because billboard owners often put up our messages while in between contracts. It helps them not have a blank billboard and it helps us to get out a
faithful message. We also have RCIA for those in the film industry. It helps for them to be surrounded by others in the business who they know. Our big upcoming project is the Rosary Bowl which will be May 19th. We will fill the Rose Bowl with a faithful audience, as was once done in other large stadiums, reciting the
Rosary (more on that tomorrow in part II of The Tide Is Turning In Hollywood.)
Dave Hartline You told me you are bothered when Hollywood is painted with a broad brush for being too non-religious, out of control and self indulgent. Can you
tell me some of the rising stars who are faithful Catholics?
Father Willy Raymond Yes, I think many Catholics are aware of some of the more prominent stars who are faithful However, there are many rising stars who
live very faith-filled lives. Jim Caviezel is probably most known of the "newer" stars but there are many others. Eduardo Verastegui and Alejandro Monteverdi are two names the public really
needs to look out for in the future. Their film Bella will make a big splash later this year. Eduardo and Alejandro,
who are widely known in Latino circles, will be known to a much larger audience soon. They are very faithful young men and will be great role models. This doesn’t begin to touch
the young men and women that you may not often see on television or in the movies. However, they have important jobs in the film industry and their faith is a great testament to the Church.
I was shown a private screeing of Bella
. I can certainly see why it won the Toronto Film Festival People’s Choice Award. This
is a distinction it shared with past dark horse winners such as Chariots of Fire
, The Big Chill
among others. The film intertwines various sub-plots
into one great story of hope. It is a remarkable achievement for these young filmmakers. It certainly is a film that the faithful will want to see. In addition to Family Theater,
there is Act One Productions with Catholic writer Barbara Nicolosi
being a driving force within the group. This is another avenue
for faithful Catholics to pursue while in Hollywood.
I attended mid-day Mass with some of the aforementioned young and faithful . At one time (1940s & 1950s) the Hollywood Decency Board met in one of the parishes of the
city and if they had any misgivings about a film, the director would be sure to make the necessary changes. That group is no longer exists. However in a strange twist of fate, across
town that screening job now belongs to the Gay and Lesbian Board who often screens films to make sure that homosexual characters fit the mold they desire.
With all the negative publicity and latest breaking news of “Actors/actress Gone Wild,” faithful Catholics should feel that in the midst of Hollywood ’s “adult
entertainment” shops and clubs exists a group of faithful Catholics who do their best to keep and preach the faith. The negative publicity and behavior of some in Hollywood didn’t
happen overnight. It will take some time for the “good works” of the aforementioned Hollywood faithful to be seen. However, rest assured they are working hard and yes the
tide is turning, even in Hollywood . Comments Click Here
Steve McEveety Producer Of The Passion Of The Christ, Braveheart etc (Among Others) And Yours Truly (Steve's On The Right Just In Case You Had Any Doubt)
Eduardo Verastegui, Lead Actor & Producer Of The Highly Anticipated Film Bella (Toronto Film Festival Winner) He
Is Holding His Personal Copy Of My Book The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism