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St. Thomas Aquinas meets bluegrass in best-selling album by Dominicans

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WASHINGTON  — Bluegrass music may not be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Dominicans, but for the 10 Dominican brothers and priests at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington who recently released their debut album, “The Hillbilly Thomists,” the two have a lot in common.

“The life of holiness is the happiest life. It is the good life,” said Brother Jonah Teller, who plays guitar on the album. “I was drawn, and I think a lot of men are drawn, by the joy the brothers exhibit … to be living this life, to be saving our souls, to be drawing closer to Jesus, and to do it with brothers.” Read more »

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“Beirut,” “I Feel Pretty” among movies reviewed for April 20

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NEW YORK — The following are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by Catholic News Service.
 
“Beirut”  
Every word matters in this espionage thriller set in 1982 during the civil war in Lebanon. A U.S. negotiator (Jon Hamm) struggles with his emotional demons and a great deal of alcohol as he attempts to free an American hostage (Mark Pellegrino) held by Palestinian terrorists (including Idir Chender). A CIA field agent (Rosamund Pike) is assigned to the mediator to prevent from being taken hostage himself or going on an extended bender.
Director Brad Anderson, working from a screenplay by Tony Gilroy, demands that the audience pay close attention to this extraordinarily rare drama for grown-ups in which gunfire, explosions and ethnic hatreds are secondary to matters of trust.
Mature themes, gun violence, frequent rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
 
“The Devil and Father Amorth”  
William Friedkin, director of 1973’s “The Exorcist,” helmed and narrates this brief, mostly straightforward documentary about demonic possession. He follows the case of an Italian woman who was ministered to by Pauline Father Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist of the Diocese of Rome from 1986 until his death in 2016, aged 91. The film’s

A scene from the documentary “The Devil and Father Amorth.” Pauline Father Gabriele Amorth, who was chief exorcist of the Diocese of Rome, is the main subject of the documentary. (CNS photo/The Orchard)

selling point is the fact that Friedkin obtained permission to tape the rite itself, with predictably unsettling results.

Though there’s an intrusive feeling about this apparently unique footage, it will certainly fascinate at least some viewers. What surrounds it is a look back at William Peter Blatty’s fact-based 1971 novel, the source of Friedkin’s famous feature, interviews with, among others, Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron, neurosurgeons and psychiatrists and a sketchy portrait of Father Amorth that asserts but does not explore his sanctity.
At times, Friedkin appears slightly breathless with enthusiasm for his own material, and Christopher Rouse’s churning score also hints at sensationalism. But overall the tone is respectful and sober minded.
Mature themes, potentially disturbing images, a rude gesture. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
 
“I Feel Pretty”  
A thump to the head during a Soul Cycle workout gives a young, ambitious but out-of-shape woman (Amy Schumer) the illusion that she is suddenly slim and beautiful, and this supercharges her self-confidence, transforming her failing romantic life as well as her career at a cosmetics firm (led by Lauren Hutton and Michelle Williams). Though her fantasy alienates her from her closest pals (Aidy Bryant and Busy Philipps) for a time, it also lands her a sensitive new boyfriend (Rory Scovel).
Co-writers and directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein have packaged an unbendingly cheerful girl-power fable that, despite its trite plot, conveys sound messages about self-esteem and showcases some good moral choices. A sequence in which the protagonist’s sudden boldness is shown to extend to sexual matters, however, may have the parents of teen girls, who are this film’s target audience, hesitating to give them the green light.
An implied nonmarital sexual encounter, obscured rear nudity, a single instance each of scatological and anatomical humor. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
 
“Rampage”  
Entertaining bit of outsized nonsense combining 1970s-style disaster movie spectacle with the even older altered-animal trope that gave the world Godzilla, and derived in part from the video arcade game of the same title. When a space station is destroyed, the DNA-changing chemical an evil corporation (led by Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy) was developing on board plummets to various localities around the world transforming and enraging, among other animals, a previously peaceful albino gorilla. To save the primate from running amok and being put down, his devoted trainer (Dwayne Johnson) teams with a geneticist (Naomie Harris) and an unconventional government agent (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). But the trio soon find themselves up against an enhanced wolf and a monstrous crocodile as well.
Considered as campy fun, director Brad Peyton’s mayhem fest works well enough as a time-killer for grown-ups, though artistic or moral significance is entirely absent.
Frequent monster violence, mostly stylized but with some gore, several uses of profanity and a couple of milder oaths, at least one rough and numerous crude terms, obscene gestures. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
 
“You Were Never Really Here”  
Writer-director Lynne Ramsay’s adaptation of the Jonathan Ames novella about a stressed-out, self-loathing hitman (Joaquin Phoenix) gets lost in a quagmire of immorality. Hired by a New York state senator (Alex Manette) whose 13-year-old daughter (Ekaterina Samsonov) is being held captive in a brothel of underage girls, the assassin sets out to rescue her through slaughter.
The fact that Ramsay’s script presents this as an opportunity for him to recapture the spark of life and find redemption is as deplorable as it is twisted.
Skewed values, much gory physical and gun violence, rear male nudity, mature references, including to suicide and the sexual exploitation of underage girls, and frequent rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
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Circuitous route led to director’s second film on exorcism

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WASHINGTON — Sometimes the best opportunities result from a mix of asking and having things fall into your lap.

So it was for William Friedkin, who directed “The Exorcist” 45 years ago and thought he was through with the subgenre he helped create. Then came his documentary on exorcism, “The Devil and Father Amorth.”

“It was a complete accident,” Friedkin told Catholic News Service in an April 16 interview in Washington to promote the film. “I had no intention of doing this. I had no interest. ‘The Exorcist’ was a work of fiction. I had never seen a real exorcism, and neither had William Peter Blatty,” who had written the novel on which that movie was based. Read more »

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Sainthood candidate Father Flanagan inspires new children’s book

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OMAHA, Neb. (CNS) — Each illustration took up to 20 hours, often done in the middle of the night after his family was asleep.

And each was necessary for Eli Hernandez to complete his 30-page children’s book, “Dearest Children: A Message Inspired by Father Edward J. Flanagan.”

Working at night and on weekends, the project took about a year to complete, said Hernandez, manager of design and production in the marketing and communications department at Boys Town, the home for boys and girls in need founded by the priest more than 100 years ago. Read more »

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The show must go on — in the dark — at Salesianum

March 9th, 2018 Posted in Entertainment, Featured, Our Diocese Tags: ,

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The Dialog
WILMINGTON – Billy Joel sang about it in “Miami 2017,” in the first line, in fact. “I’ve seen the lights go out on Broadway,” the Piano Man says, but of course, they went right on with the show.

The cast and crew of “Les Mis” at Salesianum School had the same attitude on March 2, opening night for the spring musical, when power was lost just before intermission. After a brief unscheduled period of darkness, the students saw the light, and the show continued.

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Ss. Peter and Paul production brings ‘Frogs’ to life

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EASTON – When the student cast and stage hands for Ss. Peter and Paul High School’s production of “Frogs” heard of the selection, some were not overly enthused.

They thought it sounded rather Greek. “I said, what is ‘Frogs’? This makes no sense,” freshman Grace Burns recalled.

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High school musicals continue with Archmere, Salesianum

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The season for spring musicals has arrived and high schools in the Diocese of Wilmington are in full swing.
We’ve already had two weekends with shows and the high school theater productions continue this weekend as follows:
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Sister Courtney, inspiration for ‘Trouble with Angels,’ dies at 95

January 4th, 2018 Posted in Entertainment, National News Tags:

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SINSINAWA, Wis. — A funeral Mass was celebrated Jan. 2 for Dominican Sister John Eudes Courtney, who spent 68 years in religious life. Sister Courtney died Dec. 22 at age 95 at the Sinsinawa Dominicans’ motherhouse in Sinsinawa.

She served as inspiration for the character of Mary Clancy in the book “Life With Mother Superior” by Jane Trahey, which was turned into the movie “The Trouble With Angels,” starring Hayley Mills as Mary Clancy and Rosalind Russell as the mother superior. Trahey was best friends with young Mary Courtney when both were students at Providence High School in Chicago.

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‘O come, let us adore him’

December 24th, 2017 Posted in Catechetical Corner, Entertainment

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Catholic News Service

“Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family. Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven’s glory was made manifest. The church never tires of singing the glory of this night.”

These words from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 525) focus our gaze on the mystery of that holy night when Advent preparations culminate in the great Christmas feast. Read more »

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‘Catholic Forum’ show to recall one of its founders

July 23rd, 2016 Posted in Entertainment Tags: ,

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The late Dorothy Arthur, one of the founders of “Catholic Forum,” the radio program-podcast produced by the Office of Communications of the Diocese of Wilmington since 1939, will be remembered on the show’s Aug. 7 broadcast.

The program, heard Sunday mornings on WDEL AM and FM in Wilmington; WAAI FM in Hurlock, Md.; and by podcast, has a diverse schedule of topics to finish up the summer season.

The following is a list of “Catholic Forum” topics and guests through August.

  • July 24: Author Julie Cragon will discuss her book, “Visiting Mary: Her U.S. Shrines and Their Graces.”
  • July 31: Local author Michele Chynoweth will discuss her latest novel, “The Runaway Prophet,” a modern-day thriller based on the Bible’s Book of Jonah.
  • Aug. 7: Listeners will hear a tribute to A. Dorothy Arthur, one of the founders of “Catholic Forum” in 1939, who passed away last month at the age of 95. The tribute will include an interview that was recorded in 2014.
  • Aug. 14: “Catholic Forum” presents Michael Davidson and Margaret Consiglio from the Cathedral of St. Peter, who will discuss the historic church as it celebrates its 200th anniversary.

• Aug. 21: Dr. Lou De Angelo, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Wilmington, will discuss Catholic schools in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore as students and parents prepare to begin the school year.

  • Aug. 28: Author and Mother Teresa expert Susan Conroy will discuss the life and legacy of the saintly woman who will be canonized on Sept. 4 in Rome.

Available on air, online and on demand, Catholic Forum airs Sunday mornings at 9:05 on WAAI 100.9FM and on www.1009purecountry.com; and at 10:05 on WDEL 101.7FM and 1150AM and www.wdel.com.

 

The program is available as a podcast at http://catholicforumradio.libsyn.com/ and by searching “Catholic Forum Radio” on iTunes©.

 

 

 

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