home page links quotes statistics mission statement success stories resources Lighter Side Authors! Search Page
Posted December 6, 2005

A Success Story Well Worth Repeating!!
[Please click on this link for more on C.S. Lewis]

Parish event for high school students
combines Mass, supper, 'Narnia'

By Pat Norby
Catholic News Service

ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) -- Nativity of Our Lord Parish in St. Paul is making it easy for high school students to see the film "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," based on the book by C.S. Lewis.

"We're going to rent one of the local theaters, and we're going to promote it as a youth ministry event in our parish," said Randy Mueller, Nativity faith formation director, who was organizing a Dec. 11 event with Robert Fischer, youth minister. "We're hoping to have 300 high school youth come to an event that includes going to Mass, light supper and going to the movie."

Mueller and Fischer were inspired to plan the event -- open to any student in ninth to 12th grades, not just parishioners -- after attending an ecumenical meeting of pastors and faith formation leaders. There they saw a short trailer of the film.

The brief preview and personal experience led the two men to encourage youths and parents to see the film and do further reading; Mueller had read "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" to some of his seven children, who range in age from 5 to 19 years old.

"When we went to this event, they packed us with posters, and we've been putting them up at the Catholic high schools and gave them to the (Nativity school) librarian to encourage kids to read the books," he told The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.

Because of the Christian allegory in the books and film for children, Mueller said he believes "it would lay a good groundwork to keep their hearts and minds open to the Gospel -- to God working in their life."

He also wants to support the people who made the film: "to send a message to Hollywood that these are the kinds of films we want for our families."

Although people can use their imaginations to bring books to life, a major theater production such as "Narnia" draws youths to want to see it, Mueller said. "It becomes a fashionable thing -- a fad -- and I think this is a good fad to have."

It also will spur the interest of parents of young families to read good Christian books to their children, as well as inspire grade school students to read the whole series, he said.

Nativity also is encouraging parents to purchase "A Guide to Narnia: 100 Questions about 'The Chronicles of Narnia,'" by Ascension Press. Written by Catholic authors, the guide provides the story within the story about Narnia, Mueller said.

The Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops calls the film "a cinematic work of extraordinary beauty that ... transports viewers to a wondrous world of adventure, heroism and religious symbolism," and classifies it A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested.