Sunday, May 27, 2007

Catholic Influence in the Arts

Last May 25, 2007 I attended the graduation of my son Jo-El in San Francisco, California. He was sent into the "real world" from the Academy of Art University where he had spent four and one-half years studying cinematography with an emphasis on editing.
The room was filled to capacity with students and parents. By quickly counting the chairs, row and column it became very clear that 700 people were going to be honored in this ceremony. This was only about forty percent of the total number of graduates from this prestigious arts school.
A quick scan of the printed program showed that the beginning of the program would be graced by an opening prayer led by a Catholic priest. It also showed that the same Catholic priest would be closing the program with a blessing on the graduates. I was impressed. This is certainly not usual for a private, secular university. I wasn't complaining, just deeply impressed.
Furthermore I discovered that two of the people who were being presented with doctorates Honoris Causa are also Catholics.
I've been a Catholic all my life. When I was younger I remember people looking for information that would indicate whether or not a certain movie star was Catholic. I remember feeling proud when it would become known that a famous baseball player was Catholic. If he was a member of the Boston Braves, it was all the better.
Please remember that the most famous Catholic movie star was Bing Crosby. The most famous media star was Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. These two people were the extent of the Catholic influence on and in the media. We live in a different age. These days we have the Internet filling the world with the Catholic presence. We have many other Catholic web sites. There are Catholic "life style" magazines online, like, for example. There is a very strong Catholic presence in Hollywood. Catholic Family Theatre owned and operated by the Holy Cross Fathers is a famous "player" in Hollywood. Every year there is an exhibit of Catholic short films at the Anaheim Convention for Religious Education. Even the Holy See has its own web site. It is very comforting to be Catholic and to realize that the Church has a very real and very influential position in the world of communications and entertainment.
It is very rewarding to be an electronic evangelizer. It is very rewarding to see a Catholic executive of a secular arts school include Catholic prayer in the commencement ritual. I am glad to say that my son graduated from such a school. Now all he has to do is to find an editing job! Maybe the final blessing from the Catholic priest will help!

God bless you all.


I am a father. I am a father to two human beings who are so different that it is difficult to believe that they have the same source of life. For one thing, one of them looks like the caucasian that I am and the other looks like the Southeast Asian that my loving wife is. One of them is rowdy like I am and the other is quiet and reserved as his mother is. One of them went from high school to college, worked his way through, got a job, a girl friend, a fiancee, etc....
The other graduated from high school, looked around, challenged me to throw him out, got a job, survived because of the love of his grandmother, went to college, worked hard, lived for a few years in the same 600 square foot apartment with me and his mother and finally graduated from a prestigious university. Now all he needs is a job.

All of this has taken place over 3o years. In a previous life people would have come to me asking for guidance in situations like this. I would have sat there in my soft chair and given them shares of my God-given wisdom. At this time I am humbly saying that there is nothing that anyone else can tell you about how to get through this stuff except God himself. No, I take that back...God through your spouse. There are situations that only married people can figure out. They can figure it out because God talks to them in a special way. He talks to them through the very children that they are trying to raise. When you put it all together, you realize that God is telling you that this is the situation and this is what I want you to do. So you go out for a walk in the cool, cool, cool of the evening and one of you says, "I have been dreaming and God has been talking to me and here's what He says. You decide to do it. You have a family meeting and it happens. You find the money, you find the living space, you find the work, you find the love, you find the strength and the energy and five or six years later you sit back and God says, "See, I told you so."

You go to the graduation, you see your two boys helping one another and you know that God is in charge. There is nothing greater than seeing the power of God from the front row seat of your own life. I know that because I have been living it now for those five years that I mentioned above. I am telling you that I will carry this happiness with me to the grave. You can cry tears of happiness now, but don't you dare forget not to cry at my funeral.