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‘All Saints’ celebrates Christian family life

August 25th, 2017 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,


Catholic News Service

Sincere but less than slick, the low-key, fact-based drama “All Saints” celebrates Christian faith and family life. Believers, accordingly, will likely be inclined to overlook its artistic shortcomings.

Nelson Lee and John Corbett star in a scene from the movie “All Saints.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. (CNS photo/AFFIRM Films)

Director Steve Gomer and screenwriter Steve Armour recount the story of the titular Episcopal parish in Smyrna, Tenn. With its dwindling congregation down to a mere dozen, the church appears to have no future. So its new pastor, Michael Spurlock (John Corbett), arrives with orders from his superior, Bishop Thompson (Gregory Alan Williams), to shut it down and sell off its property.

A former salesman taking up his first assignment in ministry, Michael is not disposed to question his instructions, at least at first. But the revitalizing influence of an influx of devoutly Anglican refugees from Southeast Asia — Nelson Lee plays their leader, Ye Win — begins to change his outlook.

The newcomers are Karen people, the victims of long-standing and bloody persecution by the government of their homeland, Myanmar. Partly in order to aid them, but also with an eye to rescuing All Saints, Michael launches a scheme to transform the fields around the church into a profitable farm.

His plan draws the support of his dedicated wife, Aimee (Cara Buono), but the steady opposition of Forrest (Barry Corbin), an ornery veteran parishioner. Other challenges come in the form of a lack of equipment and a potential drought.

Through the changing fortunes that follow, Michael demonstrates determination, perseverance and solidarity with the immigrants who now make up the bulk of his flock. Gomer clearly aims to inspire his audience, and
“All Saints,” despite its necessary discussion of the ill-treatment to which the Karen have been subjected, is generally wholesome and suitable for most age groups.

Considered on a purely aesthetic level, however, the picture suffers from a sluggish pace and often awkward tone. Good intentions help to make up for, but cannot entirely mask, these defects. Still, patient patrons will find positive values awaiting them under the sometimes-imperfect surface.

The film contains mature themes, including references to atrocities and rape, and a marital bedroom scene. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II, adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG.

Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.


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Healey Education Foundation will fortify diocesan schools for the future


Dialog reporter

All Saints, St. Mary Magdalen, Immaculate Conception and St. Francis de Sales schools begin partnership with Healey Education Foundation to help sustainability

Four elementary schools are part of a new partnership between the Diocese of Wilmington and the Healey Education Foundation that will help schools sustain their future with improved marketing, fundraising and planning.

The diocese announced the four schools selected for the Healey partnership during the first week of May. They are All Saints in Elsmere, St. Mary Magdalen in Brandywine Hundred, Immaculate Conception in Elkton, Md., and St. Francis de Sales in Salisbury, Md. Read more »

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On All Saints Day, Pope proposes new Beatitudes for modern Christians


Catholic News Service

MALMO, Sweden — The saints are blessed because they were faithful and meek and cared for others, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis greets a woman before celebrating Mass at the Swedbank Stadium in Malmo, Sweden, Nov. 1. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis greets a woman before celebrating Mass at the Swedbank Stadium in Malmo, Sweden, Nov. 1. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

At the end of an ecumenical trip to Sweden, Pope Francis celebrated the feast of All Saints Nov. 1 with a Catholic Mass in a Malmo stadium. He highlighted the lives of the Swedish saints, Elizabeth Hesselblad and Bridget of Vadstena, who “prayed and worked to create bonds of unity and fellowship between Christians.”

The best description of the saints, in fact, their “identity card,” the pope said, is found in the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which begins, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

And, he said, as Christian saints have done throughout the ages, Christ’s followers today are called “to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus.”

New situations require new energy and a new commitment, he said, and then he offered a new list of Beatitudes for modern Christians:

  • “Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.
  • “Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness.
  • “Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.
  • “Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.
  • “Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
  • “Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.”

“All these are messengers of God’s mercy and tenderness,” Pope Francis said. “Surely they will receive from him their merited reward.”

Registered Catholics in Sweden number about 115,000, just over 1 percent of the population. But with recent waves of immigration, especially from Chaldean Catholic communities in Iraq, local church officials believe the number of Catholics is double the reported figure.

Reflecting the multicultural makeup of the Catholic Church in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia, the prayer intentions at Mass were read in Spanish, Arabic, English, German and Polish, as well as in Swedish.

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