COVER STORY—There’s still time before the holiday to order a copy of Barbara Mahany’s wonderful book, Motherprayer. Please, enjoy our interview with Barbara, which includes some excerpts of the book.
DID YOU KNOW? Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton tells how Mother’s Day originated and provides lots of fun links to holiday resources. Stephanie also includes news about the “Mother’s Day Movement,” which is trying to lift up women and girls in the developing world. And, yes, Stephanie has included a couple of links to Mother’s Day recipes on other websites. Within ReadTheSpirit, one of our all-time favorite Mother’s Day food columns is this story from Mennonite writer Shirley Showalter about her family’s legacy of Sugar Cookies.
‘REQUIEM FOR MY MOTHER’—Hollywood composer Stephen Edwards is giving all of us an inspiring gift in honor of his late mother: It’s a broadcast of a documentary film about his creation of an ambitious orchestral-and-choral composition that was performed at the Vatican. Check local listings in your part of the country: The nationwide broadcast is scheduled for 7 p.m. Eastern on May 14 on the PBS World channel. Edwards’ main website for this musical project includes videos and samples of the music. The form of Edwards’ composition is a “requiem,” a classical memorial Mass, which may sound quite somber. But, ReadTheSpirit was able to preview the hour-long film and it is delightful! One of the highlights is Edwards explaining the enormous popularity of other classic Requiems in Hollywood movies. (Think Star Wars.) Another highlight is footage of all the local American choirs who traveled to the Vatican to perform the final piece.
SAINTS AMONG US:
The big news out of the Vatican this week for American Catholics is the advancement of the late Solanus Casey toward official recognition as a saint—a process known as canonization. And, let’s be clear: In Catholic tradition, canonization doesn’t “make” a saint. Whatever Solanus’ official Vatican title may be at the moment, he already is a saint. Canonization refers to the Vatican’s step-by-step investigation and affirmation that this particular saint should be lifted up as a global example among the countless saints who already are part of the Christian cosmos. Care to read more?
The Capuchins preserve two news stories originally reported by ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm: The first is a 2007 overview of Solanus, published in The Detroit Free Press 50 years after his death. The second is a 2006 story about a documentary film on his life and legacy.
GOD SIGNS—Suzy Farbman’s column, this week, recalls another “saint”: Michael Towbes, who combined business and philanthropy with a love of creative experiences from Broadway to Burning Man. In Judaism, the term “saint” is not as common as “tzadik,” which certainly describes Michael. The word means “righteous one,” which is similar to the Christian concept of a saint. Enjoy this remembrance of a true tzadik: Michael Towbes.
HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS
Remember the simple address: www.InterfaithHolidays.org.
VESAK—The word dharma resounds around the world this week, as Buddhists, monks—and even many non-Buddhists as well as international UN offices pause to observe Vesak. A Buddhist observance, Vesak recalls a trio of events: the birth, enlightenment and death of Guatama Buddha. Stephanie Fenton has the story.
FILM & FAITH:
ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work freely published at VisualParables.org.
Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.
Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:
- COLOSSAL—Ed writes, “Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo fantasy film is a fascinating tale of the wounded psyche wreaking havoc in the world.” (4.5 out of 5 stars)
- LOST CITY OF Z—”If you enjoyed the Indiana Jones adventure films, writer-director James Gray’s is the film for you, based on the 2009 book by David Grann,” writes Ed in giving this film 4.5 stars.
- THE PROMISE—This week, Ed weighs in on the movie that’s sparking headlines worldwide, because of its portrayal of the Armenian Genocide a century ago. Ed gives The Promise 4.5 stars. You may also want to read last week’s Cover Story about global controversy that remains around this tragic event.
- FRANTZ—Given this week’s theme in ReadTheSpirit, this heart-felt German-French production is a terrific choice—set in the World War I era and exploring the human cost of war long after the conflict ends. (5 out of 5 stars)
- PERSONAL SHOPPER—Starring Kristen Stewart, the movie seems to be a mix of genres, including ghost stories and thrillers. (4.5 stars)
- BORN IN CHINA—It’s appropriate that Disney engaged Chinese director Lu Chuan to helm this beautiful nature film, most of which was shot in the China highlands. (4 stars)
- AFTER THE STORM—Japanese director/writer Hirokazu Koreeda explores the broken life of a Japanese family in both a dramatic and humorous way, bringing out well the universal theme of not living up to one’s early promise. (5 stars)
- LAND of MINE—In his Oscar-nominated film, Danish director/writer Martin Zandvliet gives us a new slant on WW 2, as well as an always needed lesson on human decency. (5 out of 5 stars)
- LOGAN—The latest X-men thriller also gets 5 stars.
- ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE—Ed reflects on the Holocaust film along with excerpts from Psalms. (4.5 stars)
- WHITE HELMETS—”We are indebted to Netflix for making documentarian Orlando von Einsiedel’s short film so widely available,” Ed writes. (5 stars)