Saturday, September 13, 2008

Francis & Clare are on the Air! Starting September 14

According to a recent press release sent out by the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), the TV documentary “Assisi Pilgrimage: Walking in Faith with Francis and Clare” will be distributed to ABC-TV stations and affiliates on Sunday, September 14. Check your local listings, though. In California, for example, the documentary has been relegated to an impossible hour on at least one ABC affiliate station: 5am on September 21 (KGO-ABC in San Francisco). Hey, guys, that's no way to treat the patron saint of television. But I get the feeling that St. Clare will have the last word. For those of you who, like myself, have no intention of getting up at 5 AM, a DVD of it can be purchased by calling 800-488-0488 in the USA.

The hour-long documentary is part of the “Vision & Values” series sponsored by the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, which includes the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Broadcast of the program is at the discretion of the local affiliate. Further information is available at

Produced by Franciscan Communications and Feed the Fire Foundation, “Assisi Pilgrimage” takes viewers to the key places in the lives of Saints Francis and Clare. By blending the experiences of pilgrimage groups the program conveys the appeal and effect of going to these sacred places.

“I’ve only been here a few days now, but I already feel like a different person,” says pilgrim Christopher Leone.

The program release anticipates next year’s 800th anniversary of Pope Innocent III’s official recognition of the original inspiration of Francis. In 2009, Franciscan orders of religious and secular men and women will mark this anniversary and celebrate God’s grace-filled call to Francis and Clare.

Born in 1181/2 , Francis longed to be a knight, but an encounter with God in the Church of St. Damiano dramatically altered that dream. Francis eventually broke with his family to follow God’s call to “rebuild my church.” Clare’s own deep spirituality found an echo in the life of Francis. She left behind her claim to nobility and risked her family’s anger to become part of the new Gospel movement.

“Francis and Clare have captured people’s imagination since the very beginning of their respective vocations. They could have had comfortable lives in the medieval society of Assisi, but choose to answer God’s call to live among and serve the least in that society.” says Franciscan Greg Friedman, the documentary’s writer and director. “The college and high school students we met on pilgrimage are particularly moved by their courage to live the Gospel.”