After a successful run on ABC affiliates throughout the U.S., "Enduring Faith," a Knights of Columbus documentary on the legacy of the Catholic faith among Indigenous communities in North America, is now available to all.
"As Catholics we're called to build bridges, listen and love -- firstly based on our relationship with Jesus," said a news release announcing the film's wide availability. "In all of these areas, Indigenous Catholics have an important lesson and message to share with the world."
"Enduring Faith: The Story of Native American Catholicism," it said, "offers a missing piece to the greater story of Catholicism in North America and a beautiful example of how Christ reveals himself through the uniqueness of every culture."
The film is available to view at www.kofc.org/enduringfaith. The site also has a "Facts & Discussion Guide" to facilitate discussion or reflection by families, parish groups and community groups on topics touched upon in the documentary. DVDs of the film can be purchased at Knightsgear.com.
"This film will inspire in viewers a deeper appreciation for the spiritual and cultural gifts of Native American Catholics, a greater awareness of the wrongs inflicted upon them by the unjust policies of the British and American governments, and a sense of hope at how Native American Catholics continue to live out their faith in fully enculturated ways today," the news release said.
Narrated by actor Larry Omaha, the movie reaches back to the Age of Exploration to examine the impact the Catholic faith has had on Native people from Mexico northward to Canada. It also celebrates the contributions their dedication has made to the church.
Filmmakers David Naglieri and Tim Moriarty examine the varied attitudes displayed by colonists from Spain, France and Britain. Catholic newcomers from the first two countries tended to have a greater interest in evangelizing Indigenous North Americans, a fact which also led them to treat those they sought to convert with greater dignity than did the British.
The film highlights the work of the Franciscan, Dominican and Jesuit orders in bringing the Gospel to the Western Hemisphere.
It also showcases the trailblazing role played by such individual missionaries as the indefatigable Flemish-born Jesuit Father Pierre-Jean De Smet (1801-1873).
Former Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and others discuss the legacy of Our Lady of Guadalupe and her contemporary significance as a patroness of the new evangelization.
Her appearances in 1531 and her miraculous image left on St. Juan Diego's tilma, or cloak, had a significant impact on the Indigenous people, drawing them to the Catholic faith.
"The program, which is unlikely to be of interest to youngsters anyway, includes artistic representations of ethnographic nudity. For teens and adults, nonetheless, it constitutes not only acceptable viewing but a historically, culturally and -- most importantly -- spiritually rich experience. It can also serve as a valuable catechetical tool," Catholic News Service's John Mulderig wrote in a review.
He reviewed the film in May when it was released to air on ABC stations through a partnership with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission.
"'Enduring Faith' does not shy away from some of the more disappointing episodes in the history it recounts," he said. "These include the way in which at least some Catholic Americans of European descent adhered to the misguided policy of the U.S. government that sought to 'civilize' Native Americans by rooting out their languages and traditions."
"Yet," Mulderig added, "the overall tone remains optimistic. Summing up his hopes for the future of the relationship between Native American Catholics and the church at large, Anderson, who also served as the film's executive producer, looks forward to 'a true reconciliation, a true incorporation and a true unity.'"