The first 48 hours of any movie is the most important. Today, Unplanned (a movie based on a true story about Abby Johnson, the youngest director ever at Planned Parenthood) is opening in theaters. You will not see posters advertising this movie in any theater, but they do have times listed on their websites. Will you please go see this movie to [hopefully] put this in the top 3 this weekend? If you’ve read the book, if you’re pro-life, if you’re pro-choice, if you don’t have an opinion – it doesn’t matter. Every person should see this movie.

Locally, the movie is being shown at the following theaters:

  • Celebration! Cinema North located at 2121 Celebration Dr. NE, Grand Rapids 49525
  • Celebration! Cinema located at RiverTown Crossings Mall at 3728 Rivertown Parkway, Grandville 49418
  • Celebration! Cinema South located at 1506 Eastport Dr, Grand Rapids 49508
  • AMC Grand Rapids located at 3000 Alpine Avenue NW, Walker 49544
  • AMC Holland 8 located at 12270 James St., Holland 49424
  • AMC Classic big Rpaids 4 located at 213 S. Michigan Avenue, Big Rapids 49307-1809

Please be sure to thank these theaters for showing this movie. Other theaters simply chose not to show it.

A Good Read This Lenten Season

Any Kev-Heads out there? If so, then you know the author of Broken Mary. Yes, Kevin Matthews. Early day shock-jock from WLAV-FM in Grand Rapids. But don’t let that stop you from reading this book! Mr. Matthews, a life-long Catholic, takes readers from his early days up to his amazing re-engagement of the Catholic faith. In addition, you may recognize the local names in the book (like a local priest in Grand Rapids!). And this book will inspire you to take a trip over to St. Anthony of Padua Church as well to visit Broken Mary.

But most importantly, Kevin’s message of brokenness, forgiveness, acceptance, renewal, hope and so much more rings true for all. His message is so sincere, so moving, so honest. It’s a beautiful read for this Lenten Season.

Follow Kevin’s Lead

Kevin had been hearing and feeling a thought in his heart to pray the RosarySo he committed to saying the Rosary every day during Lent. He didn’t know how to say the Rosary. But he found an online recording and prayed with it every morning. Here’s an insert from his book discussing his journey:

“There I was, standing in front of this beautiful statue for all those gathering to see, and now it was time to kneel. Earlier that winter, I’d had my knee replaced, that and my MS were going to make kneeling a challenge. What if I don’t finish in front of all these people? Mary, Jesus, please help me to do this.

Soon I was kneeling, with no pain. I closed my eyes and saw no people. I began to pray the Rosary, and the church noise turned to silence. Within forty days, I had learned how to pray the Rosary without prompting, each bead, fingers moving forward, slowly, prayer after prayer after prayer. Then, finally, the Sign of the Cross. On that last day of Lent, my days of just reciting the Rosary were over, because I was beginning to pray.”

Begin to Pray

Will you follow Kevin’s lead? Will you commit to saying the Rosary every day during Lent, so that when Lent is over, you just won’t be reciting the Rosary?

If you’re unable to pray the Rosary every day, will you prayerfully consider coming early to church to pray the Rosary together? You’re invited to pray a Group Rosary at Assumption every Saturday evening at 5:00 p.m. before the 5:30 Mass, Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. before the 9:00 Mass and Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m. before the 5:30 Mass. Prayer in groups is powerful! And this is a great way to learn how to pray the Rosary if you don’t remember how.

Learn More About Broken Mary

Go to The Broken Mary Project to read all about Kevin’s journey, pray the Rosary with Kevin with his online recordings, order the book and ask for prayer intentions.

Paul, Apostle of Christ – Coming to Theaters March 23rd, 2018

 

*UPDATE: As of March 13th, there are now locations in Grand Rapids that will be showing this highly anticipated movie: Celebration Cinema North, South and at Rivertown. Please click the red link below for locations, show times and to purchase tickets in advance. 

ABOUT THE FILM

PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST is the story of two men. Luke, as a friend and physician, risks his life when he ventures into the city of Rome to visit Paul. Paul is a captive in Nero’s darkest, bleakest prison cell. But Nero is determined to rid Rome of Christians. He does not flinch from executing them in the grisliest ways possible. Before Paul is put to death, Luke resolves to write another book. One that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church.

Bound in chains, Paul’s struggle is internal. He is a survivor of so much—floggings, shipwreck, starvation, stoning, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure. Yet as he waits for his appointment with death, the shadows of his past misdeeds haunt him. Alone in the dark, he wonders if he has been forgotten. And if he has the strength to finish well.

Two men struggle against an evil emperor and the frailties of the human spirit. They do so in order to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ and spread their message to the world.

Tickets

Unfortunately, at the time of this post, there are no showings scheduled for the greater Grand Rapids area. The closest is Kalamazoo. However, they said more showings in theaters throughout the area will be added daily so check back often! In the meantime, please click here for more information about the movie, locations and times of showings that will be playing.

St. Bakhita

Watch Bakhita for FREE on FORMED.org!
St. Bakhita

Today, February 8th, is the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita and also the International Day of Prayer for the Victims of Human Trafficking. This beautiful and powerful film tells her story.

The Story of Josephine Bakhita

Watch this video St. Bakhita, the Patron Saint of Sudan for FREE on FORMED.org! Don’t have an account set up yet? It’s easy. Go to the FORMED post which takes you through the simple steps.

A Prayer For Victims Of Human Trafficking

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration has designated February 8th as an annual day of prayer for survivors and victims of human trafficking.  On this day, let each of us pray for the emotional, physical and spiritual healing of victims, and make a personal commitment to work against human trafficking.

A Prayer for the End of Human Trafficking
As shared by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, N.J.

God of freedom, beauty and truth
we believe that your deepest desire,
your most powerful energy,
is that all creation might know abundant life.

We raise our voices in anguished prayer
for our sisters and brothers,
women and girls, men and boys,
who are modern day slaves;
They are your beloved daughters and sons,
exploited sexually or forced to work
because of human violence and greed.

Fill us with your holy anger and your sacred passion
that those who are trafficked might know healing and justice;
that traffickers will come to repentance and conversion;
that all of us might live in such a way
that others are not made to pay the price
for our comfort and convenience.

Hasten the coming of the day when all people
and our precious Earth itself
will be treated, not as a commodity,
but as radiant images of your freedom, beauty and truth.
Amen. May it be so.

When battered by life’s storms, or immersed in a dense fog of suffering and uncertainty, we may feel alone and unequipped to handle the circumstances.

Yet with words that echo through thousands of years into the corners of our hearts, the Lord says to us, “Do not fear: I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10).

He speaks these words not as one who merely observes our pain, but as one who experienced immense suffering. And the very wounds that bear witness to his suffering indicate the essence of our identity and worth: we are loved by God.

Reflecting on the healed wounds of the Risen Christ, we see that even our most difficult trials can be the place where God manifests his victory. He makes all things beautiful. He makes all things new.

Our Mission from Christ: Go

He is always with us. Jesus promised this when he gave the disciples the same mission he gives to each of us: Go.

Go be my hands and feet to a world enslaved by fear. Go to the woman who is unexpectedly pregnant and fears the future. Go to your friend who fears reprisal at work because he takes a stand for the protection of human life. Go to your aging parent in failing health who fears being a burden. And go to others, too, for their support.

We don’t need to have everything figured out. We can simply follow the guidance of Our Blessed Mother, the first disciple: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). Walk with each other. Do not be afraid to embrace God’s gift of life. Whatever storms or trials we face, we are not alone. He is with us.

“Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

 

NABRE © 2010 CCD. Leccionarios I, II y III, Comisión Episcopal de Pastoral Litúrgica de la Conferencia Episcopal Mexicana, © 1987, Fifth Edition, September 2004. Copyright © 2017, USCCB, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

Mark Your Calendars to Pray for Lives Affected by Abortion

2018 Nine Days for Life – January 18th through January 26th

All life is precious!

Since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision 45 years ago, more than 58 million children’s lives have been lost to abortion. In addition, the lives of millions of parents have been shattered as well.

In prayerful recognition of these lost and broken lives, the U.S. Bishops invite Catholics and others nationwide to participate in Nine days of prayer, penance and pilgrimage (January 18th – 26th). Click the link for details or to set up to receive the daily novena in English and Spanish each day by email, text or through the organization’s app.

As Pope Saint John Paul II reminds us in The Gospel of Life, we are asked not only to love and honor human life, but also “to work with perseverance and courage” to establish “a new culture of life, the fruit of the culture of truth and of love.” (no 77)