StoryTel, a private, non-profit media foundation dedicated to inspiring viewers to restore the sacred, announced today that its latest completed production, a $100K film project donated to St. Peter Catholic Church (St. Peters), of Omaha, Neb., will appear on EWTN, the Global Catholic Television Network on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 6:30pm ET.
The documentary, named “Where Heaven Meets Earth,” investigates how this poor Omaha parish became a thriving and vibrant church again after more than 40 years of decline. It was created to entertain viewers around the world with an incredible, true story and spur them to action for God, the film has incidentally helped the parish raise $3 million and is expected to raise even more when it airs on EWTN, though it wasn’t intended to be a fundraising video.
It's one of the many projects StoryTel has recently completed as part of the foundation's mission to, “inspire viewers to restore the sacred,” says President of StoryTel and “Where Heaven Meets Earth” director, Don Carney.
“In a broad sense, restoring the sacred means embracing the whole of Catholic tradition,” said Carney. “So when we encourage people to restore the sacred, it can translate into anything from helping people to grow closer to God, or supporting the rehabilitation of physical structures like a church or school, to helping protect the life of a child in the womb. We work with many different organizations and causes to restore the sacred by impacting viewers with our films.
Since its founding in 2008, StoryTel Foundation has worked on a wide variety of projects that are in some cases donated entirely to the organizations with which they work. Their documentaries, fundraising videos, and web videos have helped raise funds and other crucial support, always encouraging new connections with Christ.
“Less than a year after completing our documentary “St. John Cantius, Restoring the Sacred,” we learned from a young, new seminarian of the Saint John Cantius religious order in Chicago, that it was our documentary that actually motivated him to join. Those are the types of stories we love to hear; proof that the impact of a single film can reverberate for years to come.”
About the New Documentary, “Where Heaven Meets Earth, Restoring the Sacred at Saint Peter Church”
“Where Heaven Meets Earth,” a $100K-documentary film project, produced and donated by StoryTel, not only relates St. Peters’ history, decline and current state, but has also moved donors to support the parish’s massive restoration effort.
The documentary is part of StoryTel’s “On Assignment” series, which is the foundation’s investigative TV series produced for public broadcast and DVD distribution. Initially commissioned for the church as a three-minute video to highlight the parish rebirth, StoryTel Foundation decided to expand the documentary for their TV series when they discovered what an amazing story the parish’s journey had become.
“St. Peters had a dwindling congregation and a church building that had fallen into disrepair,” said Carney. “But as a result of the efforts of Father Damien Cook, a young Priest on his first assignment as pastor, to bring people into a closer relationship with Christ the church has begun to experience a wonderful transformation.”
The story of St. Peters‘ rise to new life is not only interesting it is incredible.
“Father Cook arrived in 2004 and quickly set out on a mission to restore the sacred at St. Peters,” said Carney. “He began celebrating parts of the mass in Latin, which he included in both Spanish and English masses. In all that he did, he sought to reestablish the mystery, awe and wonder of God, and did so by bringing reverence and sacred music to the ceremonies, traditions and liturgy of the Catholic Faith both in the sanctuary and in the community as well. Before long, parishioners were inviting their friends and coming with their families until the pews became more and more full, eventually with standing room only at some masses.”
The documentary film project was a perfect fit for StoryTel Foundation.
“StoryTel’s mission is to inspire people to restore the sacred, and restoring the sacred is exactly what Father Cook was—and is—working so diligently to do at St. Peters,” said Carney. “We very much looked forward to the opportunity to work with Father Cook, but it turned out that he was familiar with StoryTel’s work as well.”
While interviewing Father Cook for the “Where Heaven Meets Earth,” Carney learned that, interestingly enough, it was a DVD of StoryTel’s documentary, “St. John Cantius, Restoring the Sacred” that actually inspired Father Cook to visit St. John Cantius in Chicago while on a trip, and moved him towards his effort to renew the aging St. Peter Church building.
It is in this way that StoryTel’s work seems to have a ripple effect that extends far beyond the boundaries of a single film or fundraising project alone.
“We not only want our film projects to further the mission of the organizations we work with, but we also want to help people connect and collaborate with God to further His work,” said Carney. “We have found, time and time again, that while a film can help solve an immediate need, like raising funds, it can also motivate a person to restore the sacred in their own life, and then inspire others do the same—and so on, and so on. The concept of restoring the sacred can overcome cultural divides and remain relevant across the barriers of time. There is no telling how far the message will travel and how many lives it will impact along the way.”
To learn more about the St. Peter Catholic Church project or StoryTel Foundation’s work visit: www.heavenmeetsearth.tv