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A Saint for the Sick: Damien of Molokaʻi

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By Matthew Sawczyn “Dear Lord, you died at thirty-three. I begin my life at thirty-three.” Thus prays Fr. Damien upon landing at Molokaʻi, the island where “no patient leaves except in a coffin.” The year is 1873. The terrifying, still mysterious scourge of leprosy ravages the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, and the island of Molokaʻi has been designated as a quarantine …

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Cool, Christian, Korean: How ‘Kim’s Convenience’ Celebrates Family and Culture in the Everyday

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By Matthew Sawczyn There’s a conversation in the pilot of Kim’s Convenience between Mrs. Kim (affectionately called ‘Umma’) and her daughter Janet, a back and forth about why Janet is not married yet. It’s a familiar family scenario, made even more hilarious when Umma pulls the church directory out to show Janet all the available boys Umma’s found for her. …

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Meditation & Media: Finding Reflection in Troubled Times

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By Matthew Sawczyn For all of us, these have been trying times. Our world is on standstill. Many are sick, or dying. Many are suffering financially. Many work tirelessly to ease the suffering of others. And most of us, thankfully, simpy wait; relatively unscathed, we nevertheless do our small part by staying at home: watching the news, counting the hours, …

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‘The Chosen’: A Fresh Take on the Life of Christ

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By Matthew Sawczyn If you’ve ever been blessed to visit the Holy Land, or have spoken with someone who has, a common description is that the Gospels suddenly felt real. Seeing the dirt, the water, the sky under which Jesus walked… there is an indescribable tangibility to the Faith that hits the pilgrim. Jesus really existed (I mean, really existed); …

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Language Love – Around the World in Oscars Gold

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By Matthew Sawczyn This month, the Academy Awards marked a moment in history for Hollywood and cinema: for the first time in its ninety-two year history, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded its coveted “Best Picture” award to an entirely non-English language film, Korean writer-director Bong Joon-ho’s tragicomedy Parasite. In honor of Parasite, here are five other …

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‘1917’: No Greater Love

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– By Matthew Sawczyn – Among the gorgeous visuals and bombastic explosions, there’s one brief moment in director Sam Mendes’ 1917 that truly encapsulates this tale’s theme of brotherhood and sacrifice. It’s a “blink and you miss it” line, an offhand act, subtle but powerful. The movie begins with two soldiers resting underneath a tree: Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) …

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Dialogue and Dance: Seeking Understanding and Friendship in ‘The Two Popes’

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– By Matthew Sawczyn – Adapted from the play The Pope by writer Anthony McCarten, Netflix’s awards season gem about an imagined meeting between Pope Benedict and the future Pope Francis actually begins with a third pope: the deceased Pope John Paul II. The bells toll mournfully over St. Peter’s Square, as news of the pontiff’s passing quickly spreads. The …

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Marriage Story: Finding Life in Suffering

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– By Matthew Sawczyn – Religious or not, a broken marriage may be one of life’s most painful tragedies. Each circumstance is different of course, but actor William Shatner might not have been far off when he said, “Divorce is probably as painful as death.” You will find a sea of quotes on the topic, if you go searching: inspirational …

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‘Modern Love’: An Examination Into Relationships of Today

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– By Matthew Sawczyn – If you’ve seen any of the advertising for Amazon’s new anthology series Modern Love, what likely first struck you was the impressive casting. Anne Hathaway, Dev Patel, Tina Fey, Sophia Boutella, John Slattery… the list of powerhouse performers who star in their own individual episode goes on. Ed Sheeran even drops by for a scene! …

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7 Great Films for Catholics To Watch This Halloween

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– By Matthew Sawczyn – If you’re a horror junkie or lover of supernatural stories, October must be your hayday: blustering weather, leafless trees, dark dusks…  So if you’re staying in tonight and are in the mood for something scary and substantial, here are seven Halloween movies with strong spiritual themes!  Spirited Away (2001) A beautiful, soaring reflection on themes of …