Friday Five (Vol. 5)

— 1 —

A Song For Nagasaki had been on my “wish list” of books since it was published two years ago by Ignatius Press. I had yet to pick it up when I stumbled across an appeal last month that was being promoted on some blogs I read. Major Oak Entertainment wants to make a movie called All That Remains, a story about Dr. Takashi Nagai, a devoted doctor in Nagasaki, Japan, who learned that he has only three years to live. Leaving behind a wife and two children is hard enough, but then the horrific happens. An atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki and, while he survives, all of his family members are killed, except for his two children. This is the deeply moving true story of a man who loved his children and tried to protect them knowing his time was running out. It is the story also of a religious man whose faith in God was not shattered by the tragic events that overtook his life but continued to love his fellow human beings and seek out what is right. Nagai was born into the Shinto religion of Japan, became an atheist and then converted to Catholicism. In the brief period between the dropping of the bomb and his death, he wrote The Bells of Nagasaki and Leaving My Children Behind. He has been called a modern-day Job and considered by many Japanese to be a saint.

The production company is raising funds to have this movie made and have a brief trailer up on their website. After thinking about it last month, around the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan, I decided to donate money towards this film’s creation. I believe we need more good movies to be made and often complain about the slop put out by Hollywood. I felt it was time I helped do something. So I contributed money, and now will contribute prayer in the hope that the filmmaker’s vision is realized. In the meantime I have decided to order the books.

— 2 —

Speaking of good movies, right now we are blessed to have several to choose from. Over the weekend the boys and I watched The Perfect Game. This is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long while. I was about to type “best family movies I’d seen…” but didn’t want to put people off by including the word family. Some get the idea that that word is anethema anymore. That’s a shame because you will smile through this entire movie, the true story of a team from tiny and very poor Monterrey, Mexico. They became the first team from outside the United States to win the Little League World Series in 1957, overcoming the odds and much bigotry. Wonderful, wonderful film.

Next week (Oct. 21) will see the release of another family film based upon a true story that looks excellent as well. The Mighty Macs is finally being release four years after its filming (see video below). I’ve always liked Carla Gugino and it’s hard to go wrong with Ellen Burstyn. Look for this one in your area if you can.

What the Monterrey Industrials did to break barriers for Latino kids, coach Cathy Rush and the Macs from tiny Immaculata College helped do for women.

The trailer for The Perfect Game is here. A nice 7-minute documentary is here.

— 3 —

While writing this Thursday night my wife came downstairs to tell me that a parishioner with two young girls and a boy, all of them students in our elementary school, has just passed away. He succumbed to Lou Gehrig’s disease. Showing me a family picture of his wife and three beautiful children from our parish directory she asked if I knew them. While we are a small parish by some standards, we are made up of over 1200 families with a large turnover constantly due to the transient nature of people on this side of town and our modern age. While I still have two young children at the school I’ve moved on for a bit mentally to the high school our oldest attends as I try to wrap my brain around all it entails. I did not know this man Randy though I’ll remember him tonight in my Night Prayers and will pray for him the Office for the Dead. Two years ago we lost a young father and good man that I did know to throat cancer. He was gone too soon after the diagnosis. I still see his wife and daughters at Sunday Mass. Life goes ever on.

— 4 —

If we endure with the Lord,
we shall reign with the Lord.

In him all our sorrow,
in him all our joy.

In him hope of glory,
in him all our love.

In him our redemption,
in him all our grace.

In him our salvation,
in him all our peace.

—from The Office for the Dead

— 5 —

Wow…what a roller coaster this has been. Death, life, and death. In other words: reality. Life is beautifully messy, but the morning still comes. How about we end on a high note with a video that seems appropriate right about now? Because this too shall pass.

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