The Knights of Columbus have released a new documentary on St. Joseph, inspired by Pope Francis’s declaration of the Year of St. Joseph.
"The film opens up a new avenue for individuals who want to learn more about St. Joseph, who want to cultivate a devotion to him," the film’s director, David Naglieri, told CNA.
The 60-minute documentary “St. Joseph: Our Spiritual Father,” which premiered on Oct. 10 for a six-week run on ABC-affiliated stations across the country, features reenactments, interviews with scholars, and testimonies of people with a devotion to St. Joseph.
Naglieri said that the “visual medium” used to tell the story of St. Joseph is what makes the project unique.
"I'm not saying there's anything original in this film that could not be found in books,” he said, “but what is original is putting it all together along with these individual stories in a visual medium that can inspire you in ways that a book can't."
The airing times, as well as segments from the documentary and resources on St. Joseph, are available on the Knights of Columbus website.
"I think reading and engaging in media visually are two different ways to learn and to grow and to educate yourself and so it's good to have both,” Naglieri added. “If you're just watching stuff, you're missing something and if you're only reading and you're not watching some educational or informative films, you're missing something there as well."
The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization, with more than two million members in 16,000 councils worldwide.
Naglieri said the film is a result of Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly’s strong devotion to St. Joseph. Earlier this year, Kelly was installed as the head of the order in June, and consecrated his new administration to St. Joseph.
According to Naglieri, who is the director of film and digital media for the Knights of Columbus, Kelly asked him to consider producing a documentary film to highlight St. Joseph’s life and his importance as a role model for modern times.
Naglieri said that he chose to highlight devotion to St. Joseph through six different stories.
One of the six stories, told by a member of the Knights in Poland, tells about the Catholic priests in the Nazi concentration camp in Dachau. Naglieri said the testimony, told by a prisoner's grandson, notes that 20% of the priests in Poland ended up as prisoners at Dachau.
Fearing for their survival, the priests prayed a nine day novena to St. Joseph for protection. The people in the camp were liberated at the culmination of their novena, and discovered that the day of their liberation was originally the day of their scheduled execution, Naglieri said.
It was a “remarkable story,” Naglieri said. To pay thanks and homage to the saint, he noted that there is an annual pilgrimage on the day of the liberation, April 29, to the St. Joseph Shrine in Kalisz, Poland.
Naglieri said the story shows the power of devotion to St. Joseph “during one of the darkest periods of the 20th century.”
If viewers miss the airing on ABC, Naglieri said the full documentary will be available on the Knights of Columbus website in December.