Article from the Diocese of Orange
Submitted by Armando M. Cervantes at
How many times do we use movies as a way to engage the youth of today? Either you suscribe to using the culture to teach about morals and values and what Scripture and the church teaches. Or you shy away from the culture, hoping to instill in the younger generation a sense of distance from the "popular culture" and our faith. Well it seems the big studios are going to side with us in 2014, which seems to be a year of wonderful movies coming out.
Below is a review from Jonathan Merritt who write on Faith & Culture for the Religious News Services (RNS) for some of the most talked about films coming out:
“Son of God” | 20th Century Fox (February 2014)
Reality TV pioneer Mark Burnett and his wife, actress Roma Downey, shocked the world last year when their History Channel series “The Bible” set cable TV records. Now, the Christian power couple has taken footage from that series and partnered with 20th Century Fox to create “Son of God,” a film about Jesus’ life that will doubtlessly attract churchgoing Americans. As the first film on this list to release, it may be helpful box office barometer for the others.
“Noah” | Regency Enterprises (November 2014)
A flood of publicity has already been created around the “Noah” film and its impressive $130 million budget. The cast includes Russell Crowe, as the sailor himself, as well as Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly, and Emma Watson. Darren Aronofsky of “Black Swan” fame directed the movie. If the trailer is any indication, it should be visually stunning while taking massive artistic liberties in creating details not found in the biblical narrative. Watch the Trailer.
“Heaven is For Real” | Sony Pictures (April 2014)
Though not technically a biblical movie, Sony Pictures’ “Heaven is For Real” must also be mentioned because it will likely riff on popular Bible themes such as heaven, Jesus, and salvation. The film is based on the New York Times bestselling book by the same name and stars Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilley, and Thomas Haden Church. This story of a little boy’s life-after-death experience is not so coincidentally scheduled to release just before Easter. Watch the Trailer.
“Exodus” | 20th Century Fox (December 2014)
Twentieth Century Fox has kept a tight lid on Ridley Scott’s “Exodus.” All we know is that the film is an adaptation of the biblical story of the ancient Israelite people’s liberation from Egypt. Christian Bale will star as Moses, and Sigourney Weaver will co-star. Critics won’t be able to help themselves from comparing the film to the 1956 movie “The Ten Commandments” starring Charlton Heston. The question will be whether this film can duplicate the classic’s box office success.
“Mary, Mother of Christ” | Lionsgate Films (December 2014)
The long awaited prequel to “The Passion of The Christ” is scheduled to arrive before Christmas after a long set of delays. The cast includes the late Peter O’Toole, Sir Ben Kinglsey, Julia Ormond, and 16-year-old Israeli newcomer Odeya Rush as the holy mother herself. The hefty cast combined with a serious budget from Lionsgate and the backing of several Christian notables (including mega-church pastor Joel Osteen who gets an executive producer credit) give this movie serious box office potential.
Thanks Armando and Jonathon!
We will have to wait to see which will be rated G, PG or PG-13 for our teens,
and which will be rated R for our younger and older adults to see.
From the 2012-13 Parish Youth Ministry Reports submitted to the OY&YAM, these were listed as the most "successful" youth ministry programs, events, or series by the parish contacts.
Please note that "success" does not mean the most people attended, although that is some times true, it means that there was an impact on the youth in regards to their understanding of Christ, faith and our Church.
These are merely listed in the order they were received, at to not seem like I am picking favorites! But, I do like seeing that the most frequent seem to be service activities and mission trips. Also popular were retreats, learning, fun and larger-Church events.
I posted these in the "Youngstown Youth Ministers" board on Facebook, but wanted to repeat these here as well as to be a 'spring board' of ideas for your local consideration!
THANKS for all your positive efforts to share the Gospel with teens!
Appalachian Mission Trip in July
Celebrate (retreat program)
YDisciple "pilot" year at St. Charles
a kick-off picnic for the high school teens and their parents: Late morning Mass, food, meet and greet and games.
Our 1st Annual Community Day -- 10 teens and their families do odd jobs/service at our home-bound parishioners’ homes.
Our mission trip to KY was also a great experience
The 30 hour famine
Community outreach projects such as work for the elderly in Rake n' Run
Parish Fall Festival work at Kid's Game & volunteer in dining room
Vacation Bible School attracted a number of Youth Group volunteers
the Diocesan Youth Convention
October Caramel Apple Making Session
End of Year Senior Blessing
end of year Celebration of Youth
preparing and serving lunch at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall
caroling at St. Joseph's Hospital
The Easter Flower Delivery
An Overnight Youth Retreat - including Mass & Reconciliation
The Youth Ministry Famine
The trip to Appalachia.
Regency Bingo, held monthly
The Laser Quest Outing and Bowling Party with Stark County
K Day Mission Travel to Kentucky, Youngstown, Ecuador and Kenya
"Soup" Kitchen days
Monthly Masses and Music Ministry Groups
Theology of the Body Program for grades 7 and 9
When the students voice what topics were of interest to them.
Preparing treat bags for younger students "A Christmas Pageant" for parents, followed by Christmas Family luncheon (K-12)
Narration of the Gospel with younger children acting out the roles at the 4:30 Children's Mass
Retreat preparing for Confirmation
DVD 7 deadly sins, 7 lively virtues -Fr. Robert Barron
Collecting food for the Emmanuel Care Center on Super Bowl Sunday
Steubenville Youth Conference
a Wii Tournament
Last week, it was enriching to gather at St. Michael Family Life Center in Canfield with so many people interested in using "Technology for the New Evangelization."
If you were there,
I'd love to hear what excited you?
What new trick did you learn?
What ideas inspired you?
How were you affirmed for the ideas you are already working on?
What else would you like to know?
WKBN was there to cover the day, and posted a story at
Sr. Susan Wolf, SND even dedicated one of her blog entries to the day:
For those that attended my workshop: I know that I overwhelmed you with information, and I appreciate your patience! I really do get excited about the information and all the possibilities to enhance our outreach with youth. (I may have also had an extra cup of coffee at lunch, haha!) The PowerPoint slides (with their over-abundance of information for your reading) have been posted as promised - and linked on my Sessions page of this site:
Cindee Case, MAPS
Director of the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.