There are two opportunities coming up in the Denver metro area for people to view all 10 episodes of the documentary series “Catholicism,” created by Father Robert Barron of Word On Fire ministry.
On Wednesday evenings Jan. 18 through Feb. 15, Denver’s Catholic Biblical School will run the series at the John Paul II Center in Denver; and on Monday evenings Jan. 23 through March 26, St. Thomas More Church in Centennial will air episodes.
The series, which premiered last fall, tells the story of the Catholic faith using art, architecture, literature and music. It was described as “the most important media project in the history of the Catholic Church in America” by papal biographer and columnist for the Denver Catholic Register George Weigel.
“That’s well deserved praise,” said Ben Akers, director of the Catholic Biblical and Catechetical schools. “Because of its importance, (we) wanted to make the series available free of charge, for people of the archdiocese who might not have been able to watch it on TV.”
Public television aired episodes, as did EWTN Global Catholic Network.
In filming the documentary, Father Barron, a professor at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago, traveled to more than 50 sacred sites in 16 counties—including locations in Jerusalem, Rome, Krakow, New York, Nazareth, Lourdes, Guadalupe, Athens, Uganda, Sydney and Philadelphia.
“Here’s this project I’ve been dreaming about,” Father Barron explained in a video promoting the film. “A program that would take us all over the world … (and) give you a sense of the global sweep of the Catholic Church, but also would present both the truth and beauty of Catholicism.”
He hopes it will be a “tipping point” for the Church.
“The Church has been going through a very difficult time,” he said. “It’s been moving, at least in the public perception, in a bad direction. Maybe this series could be a tipping point that starts moving it back in a different direction.”
Akers said the series is educational and inspirational.
“Who doesn’t like a good story told with vivid images that also teaches you something that can change your life? All these things and more are in each episode of ‘Catholicism,’” he said. “These evenings are a great opportunity for everyone … a non-Catholic who just wants to know fundamental Catholic teachings; for a fallen-away Catholic or someone who doesn’t know much about the faith, it’s a great introduction to the basic tenets of the faith … (and) if you’re a faithful Catholic, the series will confirm you in your faith.”
There will be instructors from the biblical school at each session at the John Paul II Center for questions. At St. Thomas More, deacons will be on hand for discussion.
“Since the episodes are thought-provoking, I’m sure there will be lively discussions among the attendees,” Akers said. “It’s also an opportunity to invite a friend along … being an easy non-confrontational introduction to the faith.”
At the John Paul II Center, 1300 S. Steele St. in Denver, two episodes will be shown each week from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the chancery building. Each episode is less than an hour. At St. Thomas More, one episode will air each week from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the church at 8035 S. Quebec St. in Centennial.
“One of the great things about the episodes is that they’re divided into general topics about the Catholic faith,” said Akers. “A person can choose to attend the episode that has the topic they’re interested in.”
The showings are free and open to the public. For more information call the Catholic Biblical School at 303-715-3195 or visit www.sjvdenver.edu; or call St. Thomas More parishioner Larry Smith at 303-866-8620 or email laurence.smith@comcast. Advance sign-up is not required.
Episode 1: “Amazed and Afraid: The Revelation of God Become Man”
Episode 2: “Happy Are We: The Teachings of Jesus”
Episode 3: “That Than Which is Nothing Greater Can Be Thought: The Ineffable Mystery of God”
Episode 4: “Our Tainted Nature’s Solitary Boast: Mary, the Mother of God”
Episode 5: “To the Ends of the Earth—Peter, Paul and the Missionary Adventure”
Episode 6: “A Body Both Suffering and Glorious: The Mystical Union of Christ and the Church”
Episode 7: “Word Made Flesh, True Bread of Heaven: The Mystery of the Liturgy and the Eucharist”
Episode 8: “A Vast Company of Witnesses: The Communion of Saints”
Episode 9: “The Fire of His Love: Prayer and the Life of the Spirit”
Episode 10: “World Without End: The Last Things”
Father Robert Barron has been selected as 2012 Servant of the Word by the Denver Catholic Biblical School. Father Barron, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, is founder of Word on Fire ministry, a media apostolate; and creator and host of the documentary series “Catholicism.”
“We give this award to someone who tirelessly and exceptionally works to proclaim the message of the Gospel,” explained Ben Akers, S.T.L., director of the biblical school. “Especially with the release and success of the “Catholicism” series, we can think of no one better to receive the award this year.”
Father Barron will be honored at the annual Servant of the Word awards banquet and silent auction Feb. 17; where he will also give a talk. At the workshop the following day, Father Barron will deliver a talk and lead a Q&A session.
Both events are open to the public. The banquet and auction will be held at Pinehurst County Club at 6255 Quincy Ave. in Denver, starting at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $99 per person or $175 per couple.
The workshop will be Feb. 18, at J.K. Mullen High School at 3601 S. Lowell Blvd. in Denver. The event will kick off with 8 a.m. Mass at Holy Name Church at 3290 W. Milan in Englewood, five blocks from Mullen. The cost is $45 person or $80 per couple.
Discounts are available to those attending both events: $130 per person or $235 per couple. For more information, go to the website: www.sjvdenver.edu or call 303-715-3195.