|EWTN Original Documentary Receives First Place Prize|
Second Award This Year For ‘J.R.R. Tolkien: An Unexpected Friend’
Irondale, AL (EWTN) – The English language version of the EWTN Original Film “J.R.R. Tolkien – An Unexpected Friend,” a co-production of EWTN and Diego Blanco Albarova, won top honors in the Best Documentary category at the 2019 Mirabile Dictu International Catholic Film Festival in Rome. The four-day festival was founded in 2010 by Liana Marabini under the patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
“This award is one of only five given – out of more than 1,500 total entries,” said EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw. “The Spanish language version of this same EWTN Original Documentary was honored earlier this year with a First Place Gabriel Award by the Catholic Press Association.”
John Elson, Director of EWTN Co-Productions, said this documentary is a journey to the Christian meaning of the “Lord of the Rings.”
“Tolkien, who was a practicing Catholic, hid the Gospel in his most famous story. This documentary answers questions such as: Is this epic fantasy adventure a parable? Do orcs, elves and hobbits hide the precious pearl of the Gospel? What does the ring mean and why is it necessary to destroy it? Who is the enemy?”
The documentary airs on EWTN television at various times throughout the year (www.ewtn.com/channelfinder), and can be purchased on a single CD containing both the English and Spanish language versions from EWTN Religious Catalogue at http://bit.ly/ERCHDUF.
The Mirabile Dictu International Catholic Film Festival was launched to honor producers, filmmakers, documentaries, docu-fiction, TV series, short films and programs “that promote universal moral values and positive models.” The competition honors entries in five categories, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Short Film, Best Documentary, and the Capax Dei Foundation Special Prize for Evangelization.
EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 38th year, is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 global TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 300 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories. EWTN platforms also include radio services transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio service; one of the largest Catholic websites in the U.S.; electronic and print news services, including Catholic News Agency, “The National Catholic Register” newspaper, and several global news wire services; as well as EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.
Photo Caption: EWTN’s Original Film “J.R.R. Tolkien – An Unexpected Friend,” a co-production of EWTN and Diego Blanco Albarova, won top honors in the Best Documentary category at the 2019 Mirabile Dictu International Catholic Film Festival in Rome. Accepting the award for EWTN are Anthony Johnson (l) and Alexey Gotovsky (r) from EWTN’s Rome Bureau with English Actor Rupert Wynne-James, one of the Festival judges. The documentary airs on EWTN television at various times throughout the year (www.ewtn.com/channelfinder), and can be purchased on a single CD containing both the English and Spanish language versions from EWTN Religious Catalogue at http://bit.ly/ERCHDUF.
Monday, December 16, 2019
THE CRISIS IN VENEZUELA has many faces. Among them are the faces of a small part of the population that is hardly ever mentioned in the news: priests. The Venezuelan Church, just like the rest of society, is suffering—and priests share the deprivations of the population, a shortage of food, medicine, etc.
“I teach at a school and have taken over the pastoral care at a hospital so that I at least have the bare necessities for survival. I also lecture at the seminary. This barely keeps me afloat,” said Father Ángel Colmenares.
He added: “In these critical times, temptation is everywhere. The worst temptation is to get used to these circumstances, to start believing that ‘times are bad, and so there is nothing I can do.’”
According to the United Nations, more than four million people have emigrated from Venezuela in the last few years. “We priests also feel tempted to leave the country. After all, clergy are needed elsewhere as well. When the family falls upon hard times, or parents or siblings can no longer earn a living, leaving becomes one way to help them,” said Father Colmenaras.
Last year, about ten priests had to leave the country to get medical treatment and at least four priests died because of a lack of basic medicines for cancer or diabetes. Robberies and violence are another problem: Father Irailuis García from Barquisimeto was killed in a July 2018 robbery.
Father Colmenaras ministry includes simply walks down the streets, paths and stairs of the city district of Ezequiel Zamora, a very poor section in Catia La Mar. As he walks the neighborhood, locals are very happy to see him.
He said: “Many cannot believe that anyone would come here to this conflict-ridden district. But I want to be close to all and bring them the Gospel with joy and without being stingy with my time and help.”
The priest has become a lifeline for the community, a father and a brother, and even a builder: He said: “We are tearing down the wall that was built around the church. This is supposed to be an outward sign that the Church wants to be close to the people. We had to repair the roof and set up several rooms for catechesis.”
“The families here have almost nothing, but they still help out with the work that needs doing in the church. I contribute the same amount from the Mass stipends that I receive. Little by little, we are getting things done. We want the best for Our Lord,” the priest explained, adding: “I encourage everyone to always be happy and prepared to spread the message throughout the entire neighborhood that the Lord is here, that there is a truth here.”
“The Lord wants us to be joyful and we have to show everyone our joy in the risen Lord, despite all the difficulties.”
“In addition to the economic crisis, society as a whole is going through a profound moral crisis. Theft, alcohol abuse and prostitution are on the rise. The people who want to survive do not have a problem with stooping to these things. This engenders distrust and uncertainty and makes it impossible to live side by side with one another,” Father Colmenares said.
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is an important source of support for the Venezuelan Church. Father Colmenares receives aid in the form of Mass stipends. ACN also gave him the money for a bed, a washing machine and a refrigerator to keep fresh the food that the diocese gives to the poor.
With picture of Father Angel Colmenares (© ACN)
Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.
For more information contact Michael Varenne ator call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.