What Kind of Priest Do You Want?

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A couple weeks ago StoryTel received an email from a seminarian saying:

Please send me the "Where Heaven Meets Earth, Restoring the Sacred at St. Peter's Church" DVD. 

I am excited to see the "Where Heaven Meets Earth" documentary as I have two years left in seminary formation and hope that this will aid me in my formation as a future parish priest and pastor.

-Chris

So we not only sent Chris his DVD, we were inspired to take this a step further and gifted 50 "Where Heaven Meets Earth" DVDs to seminarians who attended the Institute for Priestly Formation this summer.

The Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF), a non-profit Public Association of the Faithful, serves bishops by working directly with priests, seminarians, and seminaries so that spiritual formation is the center around which all other aspects of priestly formation are integrated. They have served close to 2,000 priests and seminarians from over 154 dioceses in the United States, 38 international dioceses, and eight religious orders.

The Institute for Priestly Formation states,

Every priest is ordained with a passion for Christ, a deep love for the Church, and a zeal for the priesthood. However, attention to the spiritual life can easily be lost in the midst of the many demands on a priest’s time. This results in a weakened priesthood, leaving the laity hungry for spiritual leadership.
None of us question the beauty of the priesthood. However, considering the contemporary challenges facing the priesthood, as well as Blessed John Paul II’s exhortation that a renewed priesthood is essential for the “future evangelization of humanity,” the question facing the laity is not, “Do you want the priesthood?” but rather, “What kind of priest do you want?”
What kind of priest do you want hearing your confession? What kind of priest do you want anointing your aging parents? What kind of priest do you want forming the souls of your grandchildren?

We want the story of Restoring the Sacred at St. Peter Church on "Where Heaven Meets Earth" to aid Chris in his formation and the formation of more future priests... inspiring them to restore the sacred all across America.

If you'd like to help defray the cost of this strategic DVD giveaway and other strategic outreach programs like it, designed to reach the influencers who will help bring about the restoration the sacred, you can give today on our donate page. If you can't give but would still like to support us, please pray for our work.

And finally, if you are a seminarian who attended IPF this summer and did not receive a DVD but you would like one please contact us at storytel.org/contact.

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StoryTel Donates $100k Film Project to Omaha Parish

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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

'What About Me?' The Hearing Impaired Audience

Behind the Decision to Close Caption ON ASSIGNMENT Documentaries

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It was Christmas time, 2008. We had just completed the new master for Saint John Cantius, Restoring the Sacred and I was eager to show it.

I was sitting in the living room with my best friend from high school, John Caton, at his house in Kansas city. I put St. John Cantius, Restoring the Sacred in the DVD player and pressed play as John’s daughter, Megan, sat down at the end of the couch to watch.

After two minutes, she was asking enough questions that I paused the program. “What’s the matter?” I said. John turned to me to explain,

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John Caton and his daughter Megan as Santa and his elf.“Megan’s asking, ‘What about me?’ because she’s hearing impaired and can’t understand what it’s about.”

My excitement turned to guilt. I had never considered that a hearing impaired person would miss out on the message in our film.

That day motivated me to adapt StoryTel productions for those with hearing loss by adding closed captions.

Nearly 14% of the people in the U.S. have some amount of hearing loss, with a large share being at least 65 years old (Gallaudet Research Institute).

That is a large group of people who could benefit from our programs. Networks like EWTN, expect third party programming, such as our ON ASSIGNMENT documentaries, to arrive with closed captioning already encoded on the video.

In 2008, we were not a foundation and we had very little in the way of production funding. Today, we are still very small by industry standards, but we are now able to make it possible for Megan, and others like her, to be inspired by StoryTel productions.

We’ve just begun utilizing technology, which allows us to encode the closed captioning directly onto our videos before they reach EWTN or DVD, making it possible to view the closed captions on any television made after 1993.

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From now on all ON ASSIGNMENT programs will offer closed captions.

I am happy to announce that the ON ASSIGNMENT programs, St. John Cantius: Restoring the Sacred, St. Peters: Where Heaven Meets Earth, and Miles Christi: In the Mission Fields of America, will also inspire the hearing impaired across the United States and around the world.

Miles Christi Music CDs Arrive

"Miles Christi Traditional Folk Music From Argentina" Music CDs in Boxes

UPS just delivered 500 CDs of our latest audio production: Traditional Folk Music from Argentina performed by Miles Christi Religious Order.

I'm happy to report that we have already received a large number of CD orders. I highly recommend getting one or two copies of this CD before they are gone. The music is simply delightful and its benefits a great cause.

To order a CD call (402) 502-9258