The Francis Impact


Region: Ontario and Nunavut

Year of Production: 2018

Duration: 1.42 min

 Friendship from Tragedy in Quebec:

This story will look at the personal friendship that’s developed between Cardinal Gerald Lacroix and Boufeldjah Benabdallah in Quebec after the tragic attack at the city mosque in January 2017. The Cardinal has been inspired by Pope Francis to reach out in dialogue and build bridges with the Muslim community. The Muslim community has been touched by Francis’ outreach to them, and his insistence that Catholics recognize the dignity of their religion and seek to learn from each other mutually. 

A Refugee Crisis in Lampedusa:

On his first trip as pope in July 2013, Pope Francis flew to the tiny island of Lampedusa and challenged the collective conscience of the human family. Thousands of migrants from Africa and the Middle East had perished in the Mediterranean Sea trying to reach Europe. “Where is your brother?” the pope asked. “This is not a question directed to others; it is a question directed to me, to you, to each of us. These brothers and sisters of ours were trying to escape difficult situations to find some serenity and peace; they were looking for a better place for themselves and their families, but instead they found death.” It was a powerful moment of solidarity and challenge. The migrants keep coming. Thousands more have died. But some locals are doing whatever they can to help their brothers and sisters.

Water Over Gold In El Salvador:

In the fall of 2016, the government of El Salvador won a crucial legal dispute over the Canadian mining company Pacific Rim (now a subsidiary of OceanaGold). Seven years prior, the government had put a de facto moratorium on metallic mining, in attempt to salvage the country’s remaining fresh water and protect the health of its citizens. The move upset the mining company which had begun preparatory work on site in a northern region of the tiny Central American country. The legal victory of 2016 further empowered a growing anti-mining movement to demand a complete and permanent ban on metal mining across El Salvador. A key player in the struggle was the Catholic Church. Inspired by the publication of Laudato Si’ and the long-anticipated beatification of national icon Archbishop Óscar Romero, the Catholic Church took to the streets alongside the movement. In March 2017, led by the current Archbishop of San Salvador, they marched to the National Assembly demanding an immediate vote on specific legislation that would ban all metal mining…

Pastoral Reform in Minnesota:

Pope Francis is known and beloved for his outreach to those on the peripheries of society. But he’s also initiated a pastoral revolution within the Catholic Church itself aimed at those living “on the margins” in complex pastoral situations, especially in families. This revolution hinges on his ardent call to pastors (bishops and priests) to avoid a cold bureaucratic morality in dealing with sensitive issues. Instead, the Pope has proposed deep, intentional “pastoral discernment” of complex situations, “which is ever ready to understand, forgive, accompany, hope, and above all integrate.” (Amoris Laetitia 312). It was in this pastoral spirit that Francis reformed the marriage annulment process in 2015. The reforms have touched the lives of countless individuals and couples including Mark Schwinghammer and Lynn Imholte from St. Cloud, MN. They are lifelong devout Catholics, whose application for annulment was denied over the course of three years until Francis’ reforms took effect. Their story is one of tragedy, struggle and perseverance in faith; two Catholics, each with three children from a previous marriage, longing for the Church to recognize and sacramentally bless their new relationship.

Living Ecology in Appalachia:

In 2013 Pope Francis wrote that “Each Christian and every community must obey the Lord’s call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the “peripheries” in need of the light of the Gospel.” That’s what the Catholic Committee of Appalachia has faithfully done since its inception in 1970. Its hallmark: three pastoral letters published over the last forty years that have told the story of a land and people struggling for survival against a system of exploitation and corruption. The third pastoral letter, issued in 2015, did not come from the Catholic bishops of Appalachia, but from the people themselves. It was a bold and prophetic step, to listen attentively to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, to bring the “periphery” into the center, and create new paths forward toward justice, peace and wholeness in their communities and for creation.

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Salt and Light Television

DIRECTOR: Sebastian Gomes

SCRIPTWRITERS: Sebastian Gomes

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