As you know, Blessed John Paul II will soon be St. John Paul II. So if you’re one of his fans, so to speak, or if you know someone who is, here’s an idea for a Christmas gift. Soon after John Paul II’s beatification, CCC of America released a special edition of a 4-DVD set on the papacy of John Paul II. Originally produced by renowned Italian journalist Alberto Michelini, this English language edition includes ten, 30-minute documentaries with live video and audio footage from the late pope’s life. Each of the ten volumes is dedicated to a specific theme: JPII and children, JPII and young people, JPII and the family, JPII and the Blessed Virgin Mary, etc…
The collection was produced by a journalist, so it’s fresh and lively. But the journalist has a deep Catholic faith, and he understood not only John Paul II’s charismatic appeal, but also the depth of his love for Christ and the power of his contribution to Catholic history and teaching. And that’s what comes across most in these videos. Each one is almost a meditation. Inspiring images of the pope’s travels combined with ample excerpts from his own discourses to make for a documentary that captures the imagination, touches the heart, and stimulates the mind.
For those of us who followed John Paul II when he was still with us here on earth, these DVDs are like a family photo album. Watching them brings back memories and stirs up a deep appreciation for all that God did in our lives through the exceptional leadership of Blessed John Paul II. They move at a refreshingly relaxed pace, unlike the dizzying and superficial dazzle of so much of today’s news reporting. Since a lot of the footage is from the 80’s and 90’s, it doesn’t have the high definition we are used to in the second decade of the twenty-first century, but the abundance of substance makes up for the dearth of glamour (although I have to admit, there are some truly amazing visual segments!). The ten episodes deeply respect and brilliantly portray the message, the man, and the mission of this servant of the servants of God, and in so doing, they strengthen the viewers own commitment to building Christ’s Kingdom.
So, if you are looking for a stocking stuffer that will last a lot longer than a lollipop or a candy cane, I sincerely recommend John Paul II: The Man, The Pope, The Message. Here’s a brief preview: