Sunday, March 2, 2014

Faith of Our Fathers: In Search of The Catholic Martyrs

When this DVD set was announced, I wrote the producer, Christian Holden, and asked for a review copy, pending its possible release in the U.S.A. I received my review copy in the mail last week and enjoyed watching it very much this past weekend. Ignatius Press will release the DVD on March 12, slightly edited (and I'm not sure what will be excerpted). The DVD set I received had two discs and although marked All Regions would not play on our BlueRay DVD player but worked fine on my laptop. The two priests in the documentary, Father Marcus Holden and Father Nicholas Schofield start and end their pilgrimage in search of the English Martyrs in London.

In London highlights include Westminster Cathedral with their visit to the shrine of St. John Southworth and pointing out the plaque displaying the continuity of the Catholic Church in England despite the English Reformation. The priests visit then Archbishop of Westminster (recently named a Cardinal), Vincent Nichols and he discusses his admiration for St. John Fisher.

Leaving London, Fathers Holden and Schofield visit Stonor Park to focus on the network of recusant Catholics, priest holes, and St. Edmund Campion. They interview Thomas Stonor, Lord Camoys. From Oxfordshire, they travel to West Grinstead in Sussex to discuss Blessed Thomas Bell, speaking with a former Anglican about how learning the truth about the English Reformation influenced his conversion.

Their travels continue with visits to the Ladyewell Shrine, with the Bishop of Salford, Terrence Brain, and St. Mary's in Chorley. Reluctantly leaving Lancashire (they are both from that area), they visit Yorkshire: Ampleforth Abbey, the ruins of Rievaulx, and the shrine of St. Margaret Clitherow in the Shambles.

Heading back to London, they visit the Tyburn Convent to hear more about the martyrs who suffered at Tyburn Tree, where one of the Benedictine nuns recounts the last words of some of the martyrs. During their journey, Fathers Holden and Schofield do not neglect Catholic culture in England: they highlight William Byrd's music; Hilaire Belloc; the loss of the monasteries and its affect on the people; the loss of Marian shrines and the bonfire of statues and images at Chelsea in 1538, etc.

In addition to the documentary, St. Anthony's Communication includes information about links to the various pilgrimage sites and about the music used in the documentary. I highly recommend this DVD from St. Anthony's Communications in England and from Ignatius Press in the U.S.A. I still hope that EWTN will broadcast the documentary (perhaps on May 4?)

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