By Catherine McDonough
St Augustine’s Confessions, the autobiographical account of his sinful youth and eventual conversion to Christianity, may be a centuries-old story but its message still resonates today, according to the head of Ignatius Press.
For the first time, a feature film – titled Restless Heart – will tell the story of the fifth-century doctor of the Church’s journey to faith, said Mark Brumley, CEO of Ignatius Press.
“Catholics who have children who stray and leave the faith, or a spouse who is not Catholic … can learn from the example of St Augustine,” Brumley said in a telephone interview with CNS.
St Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430) “was raised in a family situation where his mother was a Christian and his father was not. He was not baptised as a child. He went off to school and was exposed to many perspectives at odds with faith,” he said.
Later, after he converted to Christianity in 386 and was baptised, he “came to be a major figure,” Brumley said.
The title of the movie is taken from a famous quote of St Augustine: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.”
The US debut of the film was scheduled for August 29th during the 2012 Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show at the Arlington, Texas, Convention Centre, according to an August 20 announcement from Ignatius.
Ignatius Press is working with parishes, organisations and individuals who want to arrange a screening of the film at a local theatre or some other appropriate venue.
Information about arranging a screening can be found online at www.restlessheartfilm.com.
Restless Heart is one of two films Ignatius Press is currently behind.
The other is called Cosmic Origins, about the intersection of faith and science, which is being made available for showings in parishes and schools.
Information for private screenings of “Cosmic Origins” can be found at www.cosmicoriginsfilm.com.
Either movie can be a fundraiser for parishes or groups, Brumley told CNS. Also, each can be a “faith raiser,” he noted, which can help people deepen their faith during Pope Benedict XVI’s Year of Faith, which starts in October.
Produced by an Italian public broadcasting station, Restless Heart was originally filmed in English as a miniseries and, with Ignatius Press as a partner, has made it to the US as a full-length film.
“It is a truly inspirational film and I think people will be greatly moved,” Brumley said. “They will be moved and inspired by the story of St Augustine.”
The other film, Cosmic Origins, brings together physicists from NASA, Harvard, Vanderbilt and Cambridge universities, and other well-known institutions.
They discuss the scientific evidence for God’s existence and his role in creating the universe, and counter the view some hold that faith and science are not compatible, according to the film’s executive producer, Jesuit Father Robert Spitzer, a former president of Gonzaga University in Washington.
“There is nothing that points away from God” in science, the priest told CNS in a telephone interview.
“There is evidence for a Creator from space-time geometry … Without a Creator, you can’t have space and can’t have time.”