Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Rosary Bowl - 'A World At Prayer Is A World At Peace'

By Hope Frances


Picture this - 90,000 adoring fans gathered at the Rose Bowl Stadium plus countless thousands watching from home on their television set. Sounds like a description of the famous football game played there every January. However, instead of team spirit, they're filled with the Holy Spirit.

They're celebrating their Catholic faith and devotion to the rosary at the Rosary Bowl.
On May 19, 2007 from 6 - 9 pm Holy Cross Family Ministries and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will host the Rosary Bowl at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California.

According to Fr. Willy Raymond, Co-Director of the Rosary Bowl, the choice of the Rose Bowl as site for the event was a "no-brainer." "The Rose Bowl was always the favorite because of its name - Rose." The rose has been the symbol for the Virgin Mother for many centuries.
History of the Event

The concept of the rosary rally dates back to 1947 when Fr. Patrick Peyton started spreading devotion to Mary through publicly reciting the rosary as he traveled across the world. The crowds drawn to the rallies rapidly grew in number, with some rallies topping a million people.

"He saw these as an opportunity for the local churches to gather together and give praise to God and celebrate the important role that Mary plays as the mother of God and the mother of the church," said Fr. Willy.

And thus was the inspiration for the rosary rally at the Rose Bowl.

"We were looking for a way to revive the practice that Fr. Peyton had of these large celebrations of the Catholic faith."

Family Prayer

The main purpose of the Rosary Bowl is to promote prayer in the family. After all, Fr. Peyton made famous the phrase, The Family That Prays Together Stays Together.

And, there are plenty of families in Los Angeles, as it is the largest archdiocese in the country.

"I think it is the best place in the country to begin reviving with a fresh and new look this tradition of coming together to celebrate our faith in large numbers," said Fr. Willy.

The three-hour event promises to be youthful and contemporary.

"We're drawing on a lot of artists and people in the entertainment industry, athletes and others to come and share their faith."

The first half of the evening will be comprised of song and personal testimony. The second half will include exposition and adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament followed by Benediction.

"Young people will be making up the living rosary out on the playing field. Each bead will be made up of 10 young people in the archdiocese. Every ethnic group in the archdiocese will be represented in their national costume and will be leading some portion of the rosary."

Becoming a Part of History

The Rosary Bowl is an event young and old will not want to miss. The celebration is sure to be an unforgettable evening filled with the Holy Spirit. What a beautiful way to share your faith and spread God's Word across the world!

Indeed, God shines brighter than all the stars in Hollywood.

For ticket information on the Rosary Bowl, please visit the website at www.rosarybowl.org

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sylvester Stallone and Hollywood finding their way back to the Catholic Church


Sylvester Stallone has found his way back to God again. He has admitted in a news article to being a revitalized Catholic.

In Hollywood, this kind of a public admission can be a career-threatening move. We commend Stallone for coming out in public to proclaim his faith to the entire world. Whatever people may think his motives could be - he just recently released his new Rocky movie - this is a good thing. It's just another manifestation that Hollywood is indeed starting to come around to God.

In the past year, we have seen more and more Hollywood stars come out from the closet to make public their belief and devotion to God. We see this as part of a Catholic renaissance that is going on in Hollywood today.

And that is a good thing because the entertainment industry is once again starting to realize that God truly shines brighter than all the stars in Hollywood.

Amen.

Click the link below to read his re-conversion story.
~ ‘Rocky’ Stallone back in church as new movie in theaters

Monday, December 04, 2006

"From The Sinai Desert To The Hollywood Hills"

by Hope Frances

In Hollywood the word "icon" usually refers a silver screen legend such as Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn or Marlon Brando. But recently, the word "icon" has taken on a whole new role in this celebrity-filled city.

From now until March 4, 2007, the Getty Center in Los Angeles will serve as home to over 50 religious icons in the exhibit entitled, "Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai."

THE JOURNEY TO LOS ANGELES

The road to Los Angeles was an amazing feat considering that many of these pieces of religious artwork have never left their home, St. Catherine's Monastery, prior to this exhibition. It is located in the Sinai desert where Moses received the Ten Commandments. Built in the sixth century, St. Catherine's is the oldest working Christian monastery in the world. Named after the martyr St. Catherine of Alexandria, it is also known as the Monastery of the Transfiguration.

In order to preserve the icons during their journey across the world from the Sinai Desert to Los Angeles, custom made shipping crates were built to prevent any damage from humidity that the artwork might undergo due to changes in climate. Monks from St. Catherine's traveled across the world with the artwork and will stay in Los Angeles during the four-month long exhibit at the Getty.

SURVIVING THE TEST OF TIME

The word icon comes from the Greek "eikon" also known as "image." Some of these images on display date back to the fifth century. Not only is it incredible that the quality of the artwork has stood the test of time, they have miraculously survived the era of Iconoclasm. During the eighth century, from 730 - 787, and then again in the ninth century, from 814 - 842, Byzantine emperors ordered the destruction of icons. The emperors considered religious paintings and the like a form of idolatry. They prohibited the creating of icons representing Jesus or any saint. However, Christians felt that it was a way to pay respect to the figure represented in the icon rather than to the image itself.

So, despite the widespread destruction of icons during the period of Iconoclasm the images at St. Catherine's monastery remained unharmed. That is primarily due to the remoteness of this monastery.

IMAGES ON DISPLAY

The exhibit is nothing short of amazing. These works were truly created in prayer. Each piece is handcrafted with such detail that even the non-believer could be touched by such a work of art. Tempera and either gold or silver leaf were the mediums primarily used to create the icons.

"The Heavenly Ladder" portrays the treatise on monastic life written by John Climacus, abbot at Sinai in the early seventh century. The painting shows the 30 steps to spiritual salvation, the number 30 being symbolic to the age that Jesus began his ministry. It also depicts the temptations that monks face on their journey towards heaven.

Among other icons of note is the painting of St. Theodosia holding a gold cross. She was martyred for her staunch defense of these sacred images. And now her image can be seen throughout the city of angels on billboards advertising the exhibit.

Yet again, God shines brighter than all the stars in Hollywood.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Prayer and Pasta in Hollywood


The following was shared by Fr. Willy Raymond of Family Theater Productions. Prayer and Pasta is a prayer group for young Catholics in the entertainment industry. They meet one Wednesday every month for - you guessed it - prayer and pasta.

Here is Fr. Willy's email:


Hello and a Great Thanksgiving to you and your family,

Our Friend, Leo Severino, is flying in from New York and will be here tonight on the Eve of Thanksgiving for a special Going Deeper. Please come and bring a friend. We are at 7201 Sunset Blvd. Hollywood, CA. There is parking in the lot off Formosa. Look for a billboard that says "The Family That Prays Together Stays Together" or "A World at Prayer is a World at Peace."

Last week was a very special celebration of Prayer and Pasta with guest speaker Laurie Hutzler. Her website is http://www.emotionaltoolbox.com/. She shared her method of exploring and developinig characters to help writers create "deeper, richer and more vivd characters." She had a wonderful presentation that was faith-filled as well. Thank you Laurie.

Special thanks to Liz Travale for cooking the very best meal -in my opinion - we have had at Prayer and Pasta in the three years of existence. Thanks also to Elena, Lance, Robyn {Sous chef} and all who helped with the program and clean up.

Prayer and Pasta for December will move to Friday December 15th so that we can celebrate with all the friends of Family Theater an Advent- Christmas festival of song and food and faith. Please consider this a personal invitation to you and your friends to join us for the Prayer and Pasta/Family Theater/Going Deeper/Callback Christmas celebration. Begins Friday December 15 at 6:30 PM. You are welcome to bring a gift or toy for children who might otherwise be going without this Christmas.

Remember, tonight there is Going Deeper at 8 PM. There will be Prayer at 7 PM in the Chapel for those who come early.

God bless,
Fr. Willy

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hollywood Does Have a Prayer - The Hollywood Prayer Network Story


by Hope Frances

As Catholics, we know that daily prayer is essential to our personal spiritual growth. Television producer Karen Covell saw the importance of prayer on an even larger scale - for the spiritual growth of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Thus was born the Hollywood Prayer Network.

The Hollywood Prayer Network officially began in 2001, however, Karen and her husband started forming prayer groups back in the 1980's.

"Eight of us got together in 1982 and started praying. That group has been praying for 24 years now. We've always had a desire to have prayer as a foundation here."

Through the years, that group has witnessed the power of prayer.

"First, God started revealing other believers in the industry who were just afraid to say they were. We started saying, 'We want to get them out of the closet.' So 16 years ago my husband and I started teaching a class in our home called, How To Talk About Jesus Without Freaking Out. We bring in about 10 - 15 people at a time for 10 weeks and just build each other up in our faith."

HOLLYWOOD AS A MISSION FIELD

As Director of HPN, Karen Covell views Hollywood as a mission field. "I started the Hollywood Prayer Network because I believe we can change the media, but it has to be God who changes it. We have to do it from the inside out. I realized years ago we have to pray for God to change the hearts of the people in media. Then, when their hearts change their content will change"

She saw three areas where change needed to happen in order to have an effect on the quality of film and television programs that are produced. First, she saw a lot of people in the entertainment business searching for God. Second, she saw the need for a support system for actors, writers, directors and others pursuing a career in entertainment while, thirdly, not compromising their Christian morals along the way.

And, her solution - PRAYER!

"It's been really exciting. We see God out of the blue telling people to pray for Hollywood when they don't even know why. We know it's a result of prayer that God puts on their hearts, 'Pray for those people there.' And then we get a chance to say, 'Oh great! You have that desire. Now we'll help you do it.'"

With over 5,000 members praying worldwide, this organization witnesses changes in the entertainment industry on a daily basis.

"We've seen more people meet God in the industry. There are more people hungry for Jesus here. We've seen Christians feel more empowered to be here because they have more support," said Karen.

Their prayers for a change in programming are definitely making an impact on the industry.

"What we're seeing a lot of now is Christians in place in different TV shows where they are effecting content." According to Karen, negative story lines have been stopped through prayer and even more change is anticipated.

"It takes these steps first to build a foundation of faith. Then we will see as people are changing how it reflects in the content of the product. I believe we will see a spiritual revival in Hollywood. We're seeing so much happening now that we haven't seen before."

BECOMING INVOLVED

Anyone across the globe can have an impact on Hollywood through prayer. Through the simple, yet mighty act of prayer you can help to influence the media.

There are a variety of ways to make a difference. One of the simplest is by contacting HPN and requesting a sticker for your television remote that says "Pray For This Show."

The organization also has a monthly e-mail to its members listing which issues to pray for "so people see on the inside what's going on in Hollywood and how they can be praying. Then God can start changing these people through prayers."

For those currently working in the industry, the Hollywood Prayer Network is an invaluable resource for ministries.

"We have the ministry group brochure that we give to people to make sure that they are a part of the Christian community so that they can get that foundation of support."

There is also the "I-to-I" Prayer Partnership in which a person outside of the entertainment industry is partnered with a person inside.

"We have over 500 of those prayer partnerships now. My goal is to have every Christian in Hollywood prayed for by somebody."

HPN has another program, the Incognito Prayer Team, in which you can pray for a certain celebrity or decision-maker in Hollywood. It's incognito in that the person doesn't know that they are being prayed for. Once you join the IPT, they will send you more information on the celebrity so that your prayers can be more specific.

In addition to the IPT, you can also pray for specific people in Hollywood by requesting a Media Leader Prayer Calendar. Mastermedia International publishes a calendar listing every day of the year and the name of a media leader and a cultural influencer whom you can pray for each day. You may request this calendar through HPN.

Lastly, you can make a difference by getting involved through a local chapter. And, if one doesn't exist where you live, you can start you own through HPN using their list of guidelines. Chapters have been established in cities across the United States and in countries such as the United Kingdom, Uganda and Thailand. Every local chapter receives a free web page on the HPN website to post contact information.

"I just want people to put Jesus first - over anything," Karen said. "He gives us gifts and talents to use, not only for our own joy and the joy of others, but I think also to bring us into different areas of the world where He can use us for His kingdom."

As always, God shines brighter than all the stars in Hollywood.

For more information on the Hollywood Prayer Network please visit their website at www.hollywoodprayernetwork.org.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Paul Harrigan: Evangelizing Catholic Youth Through Song


By Hope Frances

Keeping Catholic youth alive in their faith is often challenging as they confront the growing pains of adolescence and the pressures of the world today. Catholic musician Paul Harrigan uses his music ministry to reach out to teens and encourage them to keep their fire for the Lord alive and burning bright. His passion is evangelizing through his music to youth and young adults.

"Young adults are the future leaders of this world, and the world has many very attractive allurements that will take them away from God and their faith. I think we need to reach out to them at this stage in their lives because it can be a time of rebellion against authority, especially parents," Paul said.

Singing God’s Good News

Paul sings the good news of the Lord with his band Holywood as well as solo acoustic sets.

"Holywood is a hybrid band. Henryk Chrostek is the lead guitar player who also plays in Light In The Lord at Holy Redeemer Church. Also in the band are bass player Mike Perry and drummer John Severino."

"Having grown up in a family of ten kids, (eight boys) my musical taste draws from an eclectic pot to be sure. I would classify my music as pop, rock, praise & worship Holy Spirit driven!"

The most profound experience for Paul and Holywood was the invitation they received to play at World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany last year.

"We felt it was an incredible blessing for us to be invited to participate in the event that bears the legacy of John Paul II. World Youth Day was created by the late pontiff in an effort to join together the youth of the world in celebration of their faith. He felt the youth was the future of not only the church, but of the world."

"We performed in a venue called Leverkusen. Some of our military stationed in Germany were there with their families. Youth from different places throughout the world attended the concert. We also performed in concert for an audience that gathered to hear Jim Caviezel's testimony and view a special screening of 'The Passion of the Christ.' We had the grace of performing live, impromptu concerts in Cologne at the beautiful cathedral - The Dome. On the steps of the cathedral were thousands of youth that were on fire for their faith."

"In addition, we broke out the guitars on the train. We ministered hopefully to some people who may not otherwise have been exposed to Catholic-Christian music."

Of his band Holywood, Paul said the members have been "absolutely phenomenally faithful to the music and to the ministry." Their most recent concert was held at Holy Redeemer Church in Montrose. They kicked off the new youth program at the church with parishioners ranging from 8 - 80 years old in attendance. Paul can also be found singing and playing percussion there every Sunday at their youth mass.

Radio Ministry

Paul also reaches out to the youth through the powerful medium of radio. He is a co-host, along with Eddie Perez, on a one-hour show through El Sembrador Catholic Radio entitled Generation Connexion. The program is broadcast live every Wednesday from 6 - 7 pm.

"It's designed to bridge the gap between youth and the older generations. We talk some religion, some politics, entertainment and life in Southern California and in the United States. Again, it's a way to evangelize and share our faith and love for Christ and His church. I play a couple of acoustic songs, which is fun. I'm writing some new songs to present to the youth in that forum."

"There's a trust that develops between the listener and the radio personality and that can be really beneficial when you're trying to get the message across, especially to some impressionable youth."

Blogging the Youth

Judging from the positive feedback of the Generation Connexion blog featured on this website, Paul is definitely reaching the youth.

"Young people have written to us through the blog on Parishworld.net. They have said that they really enjoy what we're doing and it encourages them. I think that's the real test - when you hear from the youth themselves writing to us and telling us that we are making a difference in their lives and in their world. That really is an awesome thing to hear."

Paul is also involved in ministering to the youth through a confirmation class at a local parish. "

The idea is to try and introduce these kids to Catholic-Christian music they haven't really heard before or if they have, they don't listen to it regularly. We just enjoy going there and showing our love for Jesus Christ and His church through song."

Paul knows the importance of keeping kids alive in their faith as they move towards adulthood. He shares his faith and love for Jesus Christ with Southern California youth through song - from the heart and the depth of his soul.

He hopes to "keep reaching out and evangelizing youth that it's cool to be Catholic."

Once again proving that…God shines brighter than all the stars in Hollywood.

(For more information on Paul Harrigan and his band Holywood, please visit his website at www.paulharrigan.com.)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Family Theater Productions - Furthering God's Presence in Hollywood

By Hope Frances

Father Willy Raymond is the National Director of Family Theater Productions. His organization hosted the 2006 Angelus Awards that was held recently in Hollywood, CA. After attending the awards ceremony, I became interested in finding out more about the history, goals and mission of this wonderful organization that hosted the event.

A BLESSING IN DISGUISE

Family Theater Productions, part of Holy Cross Family Ministries, was born out of a blessing in disguise. In the 1930's a young immigrant from Ireland, Patrick Peyton, was diagnosed with terminal tuberculosis while he was studying for the priesthood. Essentially, he was told to prepare for the end of his life.

According to Fr. Willy the young seminarian, "prayed to God through the intercession of the Blessed Mother that if it were God's will he would be healed through her prayers and her assistance." His recovery was nothing short of a miracle. The doctors were "flabbergasted."

"A WORLD AT PRATER IS A WORLD AT PEACE"

In 1941 Patrick Peyton was ordained a priest and with his new lease on life, Fr. Peyton was on a mission to spread the message that "a world at prayer is a world at peace."

In pursuit of his passion, on Mother's Day 1945 Fr. Peyton produced a special half-hour program on the Mutual Broadcasting System. He used a popular medium - radio - to evangelize.

His inaugural show on that Mother's Day included Bing Crosby, President Truman and the mother of the Sullivan brothers who had lost five sons in World War II on the same ship. Families were led in praying a decade of the rosary on that very first broadcast. It was so well received that Mutual offered him a weekly half-hour show.

In 1947 Fr. Peyton moved to Hollywood and started Family Theater Productions. Each performance included a major Hollywood personality. A huge success, the radio series lasted 22 years and included over 400 Hollywood actors from Grace Kelly and Loretta Young to Bing Crosby, Raymond Burr and Ronald Reagan.

It was the longest-running radio broadcast in Mutual's history.

FILM AND TELEVISION

Fr. Peyton was also involved in film and television. James Dean got his first on-screen credit with Family Theater in a one-hour television drama called "Hill Number One." And Grace Kelly's final television appearance before she died was in a Family Theater program.

In 1992 Fr. Peyton died in San Pedro, California at the age of 83. He has been named "Servant of God" and "his cause for beatification has been introduced in Rome."

After Fr. Peyton's death, Family Theater Productions went through "a succession of priests who came out here and would last 9 months or a year."

Finally in September of 2000 Fr. Willy Raymond took the helm in an effort to carry out the work that Fr. Peyton started. Prior to his role as National Director, Fr. Willy worked as a priest in higher education at Stonehill College and in the leadership of the Holy Cross Eastern Province.

CONTINUING THE MISSION

"It's really a ministry of the Catholic Church and I think it's so important to be right in the middle of Hollywood," Fr. Willy said.

"Film and the media are shaping the popular culture all around the world - sometimes for good and sometimes for evil. And we think that because film is so important in shaping our culture that we should be engaged, especially with young people who are involved in this industry, because they're the future of Hollywood. Many of them would love to know about the Good News and about Jesus, the Holy Trinity and the Catholic Church. So, we try to invite them to programs have outreach to them to make sure that they know they are welcome and that there's a place right in the middle of Hollywood where they can come safely and go deeper into their faith."

The Angelus Student Film Festival has been a huge success and has helped pave the way for many of Hollywood's future filmmakers. Another major project for Family Theater Productions is their national billboard campaign which furthers one of Fr. Peyton's slogans, 'The Family That Prays Together Stays Together. '

TENDING TO THE HOLLYWOOD SHEEP

Family Theater also sponsors a special RCIA program for people in the entertainment industry. Additionally, they host a program based on Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body and a seminar series entitled 'Going Deeper' which is "an attempt to present the Catholic faith in its fullest to those who want to know more about it."

Also, once a month on a Wednesday night there is a Prayer and Pasta gathering where people in the entertainment industry can meet and share their faith with other Catholics.
Family Theater Productions also offers individual spiritual direction and can help steer young people in the right direction to continue their faith life in pursuit of their Hollywood goals.

According to Fr. Willy, "Most of the programs are for Catholics and they emphasize how they must bring their faith to work with them and not leave it at home."

The hard-working Family Theater staff of 10 full-time employees works out of a building located in the middle of Hollywood, which has its own screening room, recording studio and chapel. A noon mass is held at the chapel on weekdays as well as a holy hour every Thursday from 4 - 5 pm. The public is welcome to attend both the mass and the holy hour.

HOLLYWOOD'S SPIRITUAL HOME

In addition to the Angelus Awards, the national billboard campaign and all of the outreach programs sponsored through Family Theater Productions, they also produce radio broadcasts in Spanish for both domestic and international markets as well as film and television shows.
One of the biggest challenges for Fr. Willy as National Director is "trying to do all of those well and still be available to Catholics and others in the entertainment industry that need a spiritual home."

He continues by saying, "You shouldn't check your faith at the parking garage when you go to your executive office or onto the production set. So our purpose of being involved, especially with the young filmmakers in the Angelus Awards, is that we know they're the future of Hollywood. We want to be in a relationship with them that encourages them to really take seriously their faith and to bring that to bear in making choices about what kind of films they are going to do, how they're going to treat people on the set and how they're going to honor the human dignity that we all share."

When asked what his biggest success has been thus far, Fr. Willy said, "I think the biggest success is the growing awareness that Family Theater is here and that all these different individuals and groups of young people in Hollywood kind of see it as a home that you can come to for advice."

As for the long-term goals of Family Theater, Fr. Willy said, "I would like to make sure that Family Theater is always at the service of the mission of the church. The mission of the church in the simplest rendition is to evangelize. That's what Pope Paul VI said. That's what Pope John Paul II said. That's what Pope Benedict says and that's what Vatican II said. That's what Jesus said. 'Go forth and baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.' That's the essence of the church."

FAITHFUL TO GOD'S TRUTH

Fr. Willy adds, "The most powerful medium that I know of on earth today is film. Whether it's television or the large screen or the internet, film is reaching into every corner of the earth and I think it's so important for Hollywood and the film industry to be responsible in a way that uses all of the resources it has and the incredible wealth that is here in this town. This is the media capital and really the film capital of the world. What we do here is I think among the most important missions of the church in the world."

"If we are faithful to exploring what is really truthful we end up at the feet of this good God."

Again... God shines brighter than all the stars in Hollywood!

(For more information on Family Theater Productions and how to become involved in faith life in Hollywood, please visit their website by clicking here.)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Catholic Musicians to Perform In Southern California On Nov. 4

ETERNAL SOLUTION/CRUSADE MINISTRIES INVITES YOU TO:
"A New Generation With The Immaculata - Catholic Prayer, Catholic Music, Food & Fellowship"

Catholic Musicians scheduled to Play:
Steve Martinez, Paul Harrigan, Fred D. Solario & Jeff Wilhelm

Saturday, November 4, 2006, 6:00pm

Crusade Santa Ana:
918 E. Santa Ana Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
714.973.0543

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hanging at the 2007 Angelus Awards

The Angelus Awards - 'Creating Works that Respect the Dignity of the Human
by Hope Frances

HOLLYWOOD, Oct. 21, 2006 - The Angelus Student Film Festival Awards held today was packed with people. Sponsored by Family Theater Productions, the awards show was held at the Director's Guild of America on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. This eleventh annual festival has been selected twice as 'best student film festival' by MovieMaker magazine.

The mission of the Angelus Awards is to recognize student films that 'cultivate and honor future filmmakers as they explore and create works that respect the dignity of the human person.' And, that mission was apparent from the moment I walked into the lobby of the Director's Guild.

The lobby was filled with exhibitors, such as Pauline Books & Media, who work to further God's presence in the media.

After an opening prayer and some introductions of the staff of Family Theater Productions, the screening of the winning films began. Over 500 people packed the theater to view the eight winning student films. These short films were honored out of 522 submissions representing 28 different countries and 140 film schools.

According to Fr. Willy Raymond, National Director of Family Theater Productions, the future filmmakers' submissions had to undergo a rigorous, three-tiered process of elimination in order to have the honor of winning an Angelus award in the categories of animation, documentary or live action.

If a submission passes the initial round of judging, it then advances to the second level where professionals are brought in to select the 10 best in each category. Should a film pass the second level, it is then turned over to senior executives in the entertainment industry to select the winners in each category.

The highest honor of the evening, the Patrick Peyton Award for Excellence in Filmmaking, went to Barbara Stepansky for 'The Trojan Cow.' Based upon true events, Barbara's film follows the story of two East German teens as they illegally cross the border to West Germany in 1973 inside the belly of a hollow cow. Unexpectedly their journey sparks love between them.

The Polish-born, German-raised director studied film at the American Film Institute. The Angelus Awards is familiar territory to Barbara, as she was also a finalist in 2000 for her film "Blueberry Pancakes."

In her acceptance speech, she mentioned the Angelus Film Festival values and said that she bases her decisions on the integrity of the human being.

After congratulating the director on winning the top prize at the Angelus Awards, I asked her about the budget for the film. She said it was made on a shoestring budget of $30,000.

Her parting words were, "That proves anything is possible."

Indeed… God shines brighter than all the stars in Hollywood.

The complete list of the winning films and their directors are as follows:

Patrick Peyton Excellence in Filmmaking Award:"The Trojan Cow," Barbara Stepansky, American Film Institute

Priddy Bros. "Triumph" Award:"Queen of Cactus Cove," Anna Christopher, American Film Institute

Mole-Richardson Production Design Award:"Lucky," Avie Luthra, National Film and Television School, United Kingdom

Fujifilm Audience Impact Award:"Kilroy Was Here," Charlie Boyles, North Carolina School of the Arts
Director's Choice Award:"Kibera Kid," Nathan Collett, University of Southern California

Outstanding Animation Award, sponsored by the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals:"Crooked Mick of the Speewah," Philip Smith, Australian Film, Television & Radio School

Outstanding Screenplay Award, sponsored by Act One:"Kilroy Was Here," Charlie Boyles, North Carolina School of the Arts

Outstanding Documentary Award, sponsored by Maryknoll Productions:"Silences," Octavio Warnock-Graham, City College of New York

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"The Cross at Cahuenga" - Shining God's love down upon Hollywood


By Hope Frances

This week God led me to a Hollywood landmark. And boy was I "wowed" by what I discovered

For the past month or so I have driven by a white cross on a hill in Hollywood. I was interested in finding out more about it until one night I drove by and saw it illuminated. That's when I knew that I had to experience it up close. I felt such a commanding presence from simply looking at the cross from the street below.

So, with my curiosity piqued, I asked my boyfriend to join me in a hike up the hill to view the cross in person.

We made our pilgrimage up the hill last Friday at the height of rush hour traffic on the 101 freeway below. The closer we came to the cross, the more peaceful the air became. Walking up the steep hill to the cross I started to get out of breath, but it was nothing compared to how breathtaking it was once we reached the apex.

Standing in front of the cross and seeing Hollywood in the background was such an awesome sight. What was more awesome, though, was the sense of calm and peace that we felt in front of the cross - a stark contrast to the busy population of 4 million below. It felt as if God was truly looking out over the city of Hollywood, protecting and guiding it.

We spent some time up there just taking it all in and feeling God's powerful presence. It's definitely something to experience firsthand.

The cross stands alone on the hill. There is nothing else up there. It is a testament to God's love shining down onto Hollywood. It is unwavering and unshakable in its protection of the city.
Although the cross doesn't have an official name, it is commonly referred to as the cross on Cahuenga - named after the Cahuenga Pass running between Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

The history of the cross dates back to the 1920's when an heiress, Christine Wetherill Stevenson, who was instrumental in building the Hollywood Bowl, wanted to build a theater specifically for religious pageants.

She purchased 29 acres of land across the street from the Hollywood Bowl and built the Pilgrimage Theater. The theater became the home of Stevenson's "Pilgrimage Play" written about the life of Jesus Christ. When she died in 1922, Christine Wetherill Stevenson was remembered with a stone cross, which stood atop the hill over-looking the Pilgrimage Theater.

In 1931 a brush fire destroyed the theater and another one was built in its place, this time constructed from concrete. The cross stood tall and was lit only during Easter when the "Pilgrimage Play" was performed. The public soon grew to appreciate the cross illuminated at night.

For a while, Southern California Edison footed the bill that kept the cross lit. Then in 1941 the cross was given to the county and the Pilgrimage Theater was renamed the John Anson Ford Ampitheatre. In 1964, sparked by lawsuits over the religious uses of the theater, performances of the "Pilgrimage Play" ceased. The following year the cross was damaged by fire and was replaced by a new cross, made of steel and Plexiglas.

By 1980 church and state politics again got in the way of the county's support of the cross. This prompted Hollywood Heritage to step in and purchase the site. Within four years the cross suffered the detrimental effects of vandalism, followed by a windstorm, which knocked it over.

The following year, 1985, volunteers erected a new cross 17-feet in height. In 1993 High Adventure Ministries built the current cross standing 33 feet tall. Finally, in 1997, the Church on the Way took over the care and maintenance of the cross on the Cahuenga Pass.

The most amazing part of our pilgrimage, however, happened on our descent. As we made our way down the hill we spotted a deer in the brush. We thought it was neat to see a deer blending in so well with the landscape.

But, it was more than just a deer. We realized it was symbolic to our pilgrimage and more importantly to the site of the cross. In the BIBLE a deer represents the desire of the soul to be in union with God.

Psalm 42:1-2 says:
"As the deer pants for streams of water, So my soul pants for you, O God.My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?"

How appropriate and symbolic it was to have seen a deer at the site of the cross on Cahuenga. It made our experience so much more profound and deeply spiritual. It represented our own soul's desire - as well as the desire of all you readers - to walk with Jesus on the path of life.

Truly… God shines brighter than all the stars in Hollywood.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Come to the Angelus Film Festival Oct. 21



Don't miss the film festival MOVIEMAKER MAGAZINE calls the "best bet" for student filmmakers

Be the first to see the best and the brightest young filmmakers from film schools worldwide.

COMPLIMENTARY TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE -- contact info@angelus.org .

Screenings & Awards hosted by Matt Gallant

Wine and Cheese Reception with filmmakers

A showcase of award-winning film-school dramas, animation and documentaries will be held Saturday, October 21 at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood. Films from AFI, Columbia University, North Carolina School of the Arts, USC, and the Australian Film, Television, and Radio School, to name a few.

Hosted by Matt Gallant (American Inventor, Animal Planet) and featuring a $10,000 Grand Prize winner -- to be announced that evening -- as well as awards from Priddy Bros Entertainment, FujiFilm, Mole-Richardson, to name a few -- we invite you to be a part of this exciting night.

TICKETS ARE FREE, but you must contact us for them as soon as possible. Email info@angelus.org or call 323-874-6633 today.

Don't miss this opportunity to meet Hollywood's future filmmakers today.

EVENT SCHEDULE - Saturday, October 21st
2:30 p.m.
Angelus Showcase films & Honorable Mention films.
Films include: SMILE (Chapman University), THE GUIDE STILL STANDING (Vassar College), WHATS LOVE DOING IN THE MOUNTAINS (Chapman University).
4:00 p.m.
Join filmmakers for a wine and cheese reception in the Atrium.
5:30 p.m.
Screenings of the winning films and awards ceremony, hosted by Matt Gallant.
Films include CROOKED MICK OF THE SPEEWAH, animation (Australian Film, Television, and Radio School), SILENCES, a documentary (City College of New York), KIBERA KID (USC), KILROY WAS HERE (North Carolina School of the Arts), LUCKY (National Film and Television School), QUEEN OF CACTUS COVE (American Film Institute), TROJAN COW (American Film Institute).

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Join us at the 14th Annual CIMA Mass and Awards Luncheon



Catholics in Media Associates (CIMA) warmly invites you to be a part of our 14th Annual Mass and Awards Luncheon. CIMA recognizes those projects and people in the entertainment industry who, in their work, have made clearer the Word of God.


This year we will be honoring the motion picture "The Chronicles of Narnia" and the television series "Cold Case." We will also be presenting our special Directors' Award to the television series "7th Heaven."

All are welcome to attend this wonderful morning of celebration and spirituality.

Date: Sunday, November 5, 2006
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Location: The Beverly Hilton Hotel, International Ballroom

Bishop Gerald E. Wilkerson will be celebrating this mass. Ticket prices for the Luncheon and Awards are $100 per person.

To order tickets and for more information, please visit our website at www.catholicsinmedia.org.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"Lights, Camera, GOD!"


By Hope Frances

Sodom & Gomorrah - that is the image people all over the world often think of when they see or hear the name, Hollywood.

I recently moved to Southern California. And guess where I've chosen to plant my suitcases and set up home?

You guessed it - Hollywood!

And now I'm getting a first hand view of how this little town works, how it breathes, how it lives. From anyone on the outside looking in, Hollywood may appear to be a decadent city where God doen't even get a footnote. Why? Because that is the image everybody sees when they watch the movies made here, see the TV shows produced here, or hear the music recorded here.

It is these celluloid images that become ingrained in the minds of people all over the world. But they're only celluloid images. They look real, but they are not. Everything is not as it appears to be. Just ask the local guys from here.

I should know. I live here now.

And so one wonders how God could possibly exist here in the entertainment capital of the world. And if so, where?

That was the inspiration for "Lights, Camera, God! - Faith Life in Hollywood."

God is alive and strong in Hollywood. The people who live and work here have strong faiths. They practice it. They believe.

You just need to know where to look. And you will find Him.

In some cases, He will find you.

Interestingly enough, once the editor of ParishWorld.net and I decided to start this new column, God spared no time in proving that He is definitely out here.

First, the film "Bella" won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival. The following day I went to a coffee shop. And as I was waiting for my order I noticed a post card on the bulletin board advertising a prayer and Bible study group that meets right in the heart of Hollywood. Shortly after, the story broke that FoxFaith would produce 12 Christian films per year!

And, the list goes on…

Many will point out the deleterious effects that the "entertainment" industry can have on the lives of everyday people. They say it is an industry where the door to God appears to be bolted shut - where negativity breeds negativity.

In this blog, however, we chose to accent the positive in an effort to show that God is indeed alive and well in my town.

Hopefully the stories in this column will inspire and breed more positive change - so that God will always get top billing.

If you live in Hollywood, I encourage you to use this blog as a means for you to share your faith stories as well as any information you may have regarding prayer groups or the like which meet in the Hollywood area.

If you live elsewhere in the world, we pray that this column will be a bright beacon of light, proclaiming the wonderful news that God is truly amazingly present in Tinseltown.

Let's begin blogging. Tell us your thoughts. Ask us questions about God's presence in Hollywood and we will give you the full story. Let's get this blog buzzing.

Share your breaking Hollywood "God" news with us - tell us the big stories. But also, do tell us the little things about how and where you found God today as you walked the streets of Hollywood.

Because…

God shines brighter than all the stars in Hollywood.