The DVD series, Divine Mercy in the Second Greatest Story Ever Told captures the power and drama of Fr. Michael Gaitley's best-selling book.
Lights. Camera. Salvation!
One has been called the finest-quality Catholic documentary ever filmed. It'll be released by the end of January. The second has already changed lives.
What a great way to begin the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. Take a seat, press play, and behold two series available on DVD to Marian Helpers.
Father Michael Gaitley, MIC, author of an ever-widening shelf of bestselling books, is the host of both series, which are based on his writings. The first, a 10-part series called "Divine Mercy in the Second Greatest Story Ever Told," was produced by the Denver-based Augustine Institute last summer. The second is a five-part EWTN series called "'You Did It to Me': Putting Mercy Into Action," which first aired on the global Catholic television network on Dec. 14-18.
"We've been truly blessed to have these two rather large media megaphones to share the Divine Mercy message in places we might not otherwise have been able to reach," says the Very Rev. Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, the Marians' provincial superior. "God is doing wonderful things through Fr. Michael, and we're seeing so much fruit from it."
As to the Augustine Institute documentary, based on the book The Second Greatest Story Ever Told (Marian Press, 2015), Fr. Michael connects the dots — the miraculous appearance of Mary at Fatima, and the witnesses of St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Faustina, and St. John Paul II — and what emerges is a veritable spiritual affidavit for why now is the time of mercy.
"Now is a time of great and extraordinary grace for the Church and the world," says Fr. Michael in the series' opening. "In fact, [God] seems to be telling us that He desires to give us unprecedented grace and mercy in response to the unprecedented evil in our modern world."
So taken were they with the content of the book that the Augustine Institute, which serves to form Catholics for the New Evangelization, put everything they had into the documentary. Funding was secured through a generous donor. Celebrated former Hollywood producer Steve Flanigan had sets specially built. The Institute was able to acquire the rights to photos and film from the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal that had never before been released to the public.
"I look at this project as being a gift to Catholics for the Year of Mercy," says Mr. Flanigan. "Daily, I am blessed with the message Fr. Mike spoke on set."
'You Did It to Me'
As for the EWTN series, based on Fr. Michael's book 'You Did It To Me': A Practical Guide to Mercy in Action (Marian Press, 2014), it focuses on the Lord's demands as depicted in the Last Judgment scene from Matthew 25:31- 46, where Jesus makes it clear whom He calls to Heaven — namely, only those who feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, comfort the sick, and visit those in prison.
In both the book and the EWTN series, Fr. Michael unpacks the works of mercy and provides practical action plans to implement them.
"I think many of us are intimidated by the works of mercy," Fr. Michael says in the series' opening, "and we're afraid to embrace them as a way of life because we think they're going to be difficult or complicated. But they're not."
We already know the impact the series is having for Christ and His Church. Just ask Gary Henderson of Jersey City, New Jersey.
Picture this: Man comes home from a hard day's work. Reheats leftovers. Plops down in front of the TV. Rummages with the TV clicker, up and down, down and up, channel to channel, looking to settle on suitably distracting schlock with which to wind down. For whatever reason, and out of character, he pauses on EWTN, his thumb hovering over the TV clicker like the sword of Damocles. He listens as this young priest, Fr. Michael, speaks with joy and humor about a matter upon which our salvation rests.
Our man puts the clicker down and gives this young priest ample opportunity to hold his attention. The priest succeeds. The Lord has barged His way into an unwitting soul and rearranged things.
Our man Gary is the son of Mary Henderson of Jersey City, New Jersey. She has been praying for years that her son would embrace the Christian faith — Catholic, Protestant, she's not picky. Christ's call to action has spoken to his heart, he says. For starters, he has signed up as a volunteer for Meals-on-Wheels.
"Prayers are still needed," Mary says, "but he's pretty worked up about all this."