Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Fresh Look at Fatima

Saint Augustine once said that an event must not be considered miraculous if a natural explanation is available. A new book by author Bernard F. Kohout takes this challenge to heart. “Fatima the Spectacular: A New and Very Different Version of the Sun Dance at Fatima in 1917” critically examines the events of October 13, 1917, on which date tens of thousands of eyewitnesses in Fatima, Portugal, saw the sun dance in the sky.

The event was also the climax of what three children reported to be visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Using science and logic, author Kohout provides a brief overview of the events and then an insightful analysis. Result: the events were truly spectacular. The author avoids drawing spiritual or prophetic conclusions to his findings, leaving that to others. “Fatima the Spectacular” is a critical new look at an almost century-old phenomenon that dramatically changed the Church and is very much affecting it today.

Due to a special grant, bookstores, libraries, and colleges may acquire a copy of this important new book completely free, postage-paid, with no future obligation. Simply contact the publisher at to reserve your copy. “Fatima the Spectacular” is available from Leonine Publishers and is priced at $6.95 US. Softcover, 98 pages, ISBN 978-0-9860552-8-7. Orders may be placed at or by telephone at 602-795-3539.

Friday, March 21, 2014

SON OF GOD Movie: Recommended for Lent and Easter by Catholic Leaders

Catholic cardinals and archbishops across the country are recommending that Catholics use the hit movie about Jesus’ life called SON OF GOD and its free Catholic catechetical companion study guide and video series as tools for reflection during the Lenten Season in preparation for Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

“Personally, I would recommend to individuals, but particularly to families, this wonderful story of the Son of God, in order to be inspired all over again with the story of God’s love for us,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Archbishop of Washington DC, an early supporter of SON OF GOD.

“In SON OF GOD, through a cinematic recreation of events, we get to witness the sacrifices Jesus endured for our sins. The scenes of the movie, particularly of Our Lord’s Passion, bear a striking resemblance to the Stations of the Cross, and can be used as a way to meditate and reflect on His self-giving loving sacrifice for us during this season of Lent,” Archbishop Louis Kurtz from the Archdiocese of Louisville, KY and President of the US Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB).

“The movie SON OF GOD is a very important film, because it gives us the opportunity, especially now as Lent begins – to realize God’s daily presence in our own lives, just as the apostles experienced it in the person of Jesus,” said Archbishop Jose Gomez from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, CA.

More Catholic bishop endorsements, resources and the companion study guide and video series can be found on, SON OF GOD’s official Catholic website.

Monsignor J. Brian Bransfield, Associate General Secretary of the USCCB and the Archdiocese of Washington DC worked together in creating the guide and video series, in order to help deepen Catholics’ faith and for further meditation on important truths the film conveys.

According to Bransfield, himself an accomplished Catholic author, it’s helpful if one uses the tools after viewing the entire SON OF GOD movie. This is crucial, since it can serve as a type of meditation on the identified and highlighted Scriptural verse.

Available in English and Spanish, SON OF GOD’s study guide and video series (Spanish one contains sub-titles and uses the film’s Spanish-language version, with For Greater Glory and Bella actor Eduardo Verastegui as the voice of Jesus), draws on sacred scripture to discuss six movie scenes – creation of the world, the Incarnation, call of Saint Peter, walking on water, the Last Supper and the confrontation between Jesus and Pilate.

Released by Twentieth Century Fox on February 28, 2014 – five days before Ash Wednesday, SON OF GOD claimed that weekend’s number two box office spot with $25 million worth of tickets sold and total revenues to date of $51 million. Included in that number, and for the first time, were multi-city theater buyouts in Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia and Washington DC, thanks to generous Catholic benefactors who purchased and then donated tickets to various Catholic dioceses in those cities.

SON OF GOD also made Hollywood history, representing the second-biggest opening ever at the box office for a Jesus movie, the first being the Passion of The Christ. Clearly, movie-goers were impressed, receiving it with great warmth, affection and enthusiasm, according to two industry standard movie-pollster companies, CinemaScore and PostTrak, and the popular fan-rated website Fandango.

On opening weekend, audiences gave SON OF GOD a 90% positive response and a 5-star rating for likability, tying it with 3D-animated Lego on PostTrak. Their movie “grade” was equally high, with CinemaScore reporting an A-, compared to an A for this year’s Academy-Award Best Picture film 12 Years a Slave. Fandango fans rated it as number one.

SON OF GOD was produced by actress Roma Downey, a Catholic, known for her work in the TV series “Touched by an Angel” Downey also appears in SON OF GOD as Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her husband and SON OF GOD co-producer is Mark Burnett, the reality-TV mega producer of shows “Survivor,” “The Voice,” “Shark Tank” and “The Bible.”

Told with the scope and scale of an action-packed epic, the film features excellent performances, exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score from Oscar®-winner Hans Zimmer. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado beautifully portrays the role of Jesus as the film spans from His humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension into heaven.

SON OF GOD can be seen in theaters throughout the US. Check for movie times and locations.

Here is the full list of Catholic religious leaders who endorsed SON OF GOD – Cardinal and Archbishop of Washington DC, Donald Wuerl; Archbishop Louis Kurtz from the Archdiocese of Louisville, KY and President of the USCCB; Archbishop Jose Gomez from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, CA; Archbishop Gustavo GarcĂ­a-Siller, Diocese of San Antonio, TX; Archbishop Jerome Listecki, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, WI; Bishop William F. Murphy, Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY; Bishop Kevin Vann, Diocese of Orange County, CA; Bishop David Zubik Diocese of Pittsburgh and Bishop David Ricken, Diocese of Green Bay, WI.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

CatholicTV Network to Air Lenten Retreat Guides

The CatholicTV Network will air Retreat Guides from Regnum Christi Spirituality Center with Father John Bartunek.

The Regnum Christi Spirituality Center creates and produces life changing Catholic formation materials in many different media formats. The RC Spirituality Center serves clergy and laity, individuals, groups, and parishes. More information can be found at

Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D, received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. After college he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. He provided spiritual support on the set of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ while researching the 2005 Catholic best seller, Inside the Passion, the only authorized, behind-the-scene explanation of the film.

The RC Spirituality Center Retreat Guides with Father John Bartunek will air during Lent on Mondays at 10:30PM ET and Thursdays at 5PM ET on CatholicTV and

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lenten Scripture Challenge by EWTN

EWTN is launching a brand new app to help you prepare for Lent – and it’s available now! If you download our free app and take our “Daily Lenten Scripture Reading Challenge,” at the end of Lent, you will able to say that you read all four Gospels! It’s easier than you think!

You can download EWTN’s free app at or get it directly from iTunes, Google Play or Amazon apps for Kindle Fire. If you already have the EWTN app, the Scripture Challenge is included with the update.
To access the Challenge, simply open the app and click on the Bible icon, which will take you to your free RSV-CE Bible. From inside the Bible, click or tap on the menu (the three white bars on the top left hand corner of the screen), and from the resulting drop down menu, choose “Playlists” and then “The Four Gospels During Lent” to begin your Challenge.
In addition to the daily reading challenge, we’ve included a free audio version of the Gospel of Mark, which is read by world-renowned actors and contains realistic sound effects! (To find it, go to the menu, as above, click on “contents,” then “New Testament,” and then “Mark”, where you will be able to click on “download.") If you choose, you can purchase audio for the entire Bible for $19.99. This will not only enhance your experience, but help support your favorite Network!

Note: If this is your first time inside the EWTN app, don’t miss all the other great features. With this one app, you will be able to watch what’s on EWTN anywhere in the world, view all our program schedules, enjoy video or audio on demand, and stay up-to-date with EWTN News.
Insider secret! By the way, look for another new app featuring Cardinal Timothy Dolan, coming soon! EWTN traveled to the New York office of Cardinal Dolan to tape a series of one-minute reflections, which will air on the Network every day during Lent. You do not want to miss these fabulous bits of inspiration and encouragement – and, with our soon-to-be-released app – “EWTN Daily Lenten Reflections with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan” – you will be able to get them directly on your iOS or Android device! You’ll even get a reminder to watch them! Keep checking EWTN’s home page,, for the announcement!
These are just two more (free!) ways EWTN is planning to help make 2014 your best Lent ever! Please spread the word!
EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 33rd year, is available in over 230 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website, electronic and print news services, and publishing arm, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world.