Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 24, 2005
Youth Leaders urged to bring faith to life through TV, movies
By GERTRUDE SOPRACOLLE, osu
Special to the WCR
TV and movies can be used to bring young people to a personal relationship with God, a Jesuit TV host told youth ministers from across Western Canada.
TV and films are so powerful that they do not even have to be directly about spiritual values, Father John Pungente told the youth leaders meeting at Star of the North Retreat House Jan. 13-16.
As Pungente sees it, the value of films such as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Lost in Translation, Big Fish, and Bowling in Columbine lies in the powerful manner in which they expose dilemmas and issues relevant to youth.
He adds that for a generation whose imagination has been powerfully influenced by audio and visual stimulation, film and television, wisely used, can be a powerful way to lead youth to God through exploring the way the film deals with human aspirations and mystery.
Pungente is author, with Jesuit Father Monty Williams, of the recent book, Finding God in the Dark: Taking the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius to the Movies (Novalis). He is also host of the award-winning monthly television show Scanning the Movies on Bravo.
"Everyone remembers Sept. 11, 2001 and Dec. 26, 2004 but who remembers July 26, 1976?" asked Pungente. No one, despite the fact that an earthquake killed 250,000 people in China on that date. Why not? Because the media was not there.
"Media presents value, culture, language, style", said Pungente, adding, "It is not to be bashed. Media simply is. How it is used makes it good or bad, leads viewers toward good or away from it." So began the day and a half in-service on media literacy and its connection to spiritual literacy.
Pungente said film and TV have a greater impact on our imaginations than any other media.
Film manifests and draws one into the mysteries of life and in a sense becomes a means for entering prayer, he said.
During his day and a half in St. Albert, Pungente outlined eight basic concepts of media literacy and worked with the youth ministers to critique movies and TV which appeal to youth.
At the conference, Bishop Luc Bouchard of St. Paul also led a day of retreat for the youth ministers.
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