Women are heart and soul of church
Letter to the editor of the Albany Times Union on June 4, 2018
As a member of a parish led by women parish life directors for more than a decade, I was baffled and then outraged that The Evangelist rejected an ad announcing N.J. Viscio's film, "A Calling." This is not a radical or subversive film. It is a thoughtful, down to earth documentary about life in the church today. The primary setting, the faith community of St. Lucy/St. Bernadette in Altamont, could be anywhere. Women have long been the heart and soul of the church.
Their work is not new. Pastoral ministry and social activism reflect gospel values given substance in a fractured world desperately in need of healing. The work of women, religious and lay, has been overlooked for 2,000 years. "A Calling" illuminates the important contributions women have made, and are making today. It acknowledges the importance of the laity and the role of sacramental ministers. Bishop Hubbard and Father Paul Smith represent the priesthood well with humility and grace.
"A Calling" asks hard questions without disparaging anyone. It is a thought-provoking look at the church. It celebrates the true meaning of the word Catholic, defined as "all-embracing." It invites us to discuss contemporary issues and to embrace the diverse tapestry that is the people of God in the church here and now. It calls us to be open to the changes that come with growth, to examine our values and to think about how we live our beliefs.
Viewing this film is time well spent.
Kathy Schongar

Thank you Kathy for your kind words and encouragement!

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* "Spectacularly beautiful images. Sister Lou is an icon. Critically important messages about women's empowerment and the beauty of the Catholic Church."  *   "A must see film for females of all ages."  *  "A profound story told! Amazing! A voice heard! Moving forward slowly but steadily! It's a movement!" * "Beautifully edited to go smoothly from the personal to the general to give a rounded picture that was totally positive and hopeful." * "Clearly a continuous journey. Quite an evolution of women leaders."  *  "I liked the vines climbing the church. Very Artistic, symbolic. Love it." * "Excellent" * "Love it" * "A Calling . . . a very interesting story of a "today topic", told very well. Bravo!" * "We're all called to find our place to contribute." * "Thank you so very much for telling this beautiful story. Very inspirational & moving." * "Well done" * "Thank you" * "The Catholic Church has to ordain women! Good job! Great film." * "Such an amazing film!!"   *   "Very well done. I am one hoping for change."

 "Beautiful picture of different calls. Wonderful example of stay at home moms, sisters and congregants. Beautiful photography." * Well done. An eye opener and I'm happy to hear you're going national. People "need" to see it!." * "ONE WORD: AWESOME!" * "I thought the content was so true & real. Very meaningful. Thank you!" * I really enjoyed the film! One of the scenes that was a little problematic for me was the coloring scene -- it was hard for me to follow because the boy's drawing was very light. I think everything was beautifully woven together. Always a pleasure!" * "Phenomenal! I love it!" * "Awesome . . . opened my eyes to a number of things -- all positive." * "Because St. Lucy's has the equality we see, it was surprising to realize that makes our parish exceptional. It was definately an eye opener!" * "I just saw your film at St. Lucy's and we left right after, but I just wanted to tell you that it was phenomenal. You did a fantastic job telling such an important and timely story. I hope you are able to do many more showings because I think everyone should see it. Thank you for telling such a great story... I really think this could be a big film it's better than many of big studio documentaries I have seen. Also thank you for adding my grandmother's name at the end myself and my aunt, who I was there with, were very surprised and touched. My whole family appreciates it."  *  "It would be helpful to you to learn how other Christian groups have dealt with women on leadership. Many Protestant denominations have women clergy such as Presbyterian."

"Fantastic job!! What we loved: the story being told entirely by those who were interviewed, the B-roll of the old Albany church, the B-roll of the events and march in Albany -- I felt like I was there.  My wife also noted how perfectly and powerfully the music reinforces the story being told. A powerful and enlightening story, illustrated and colored-in by all of the good in our community." * " What a wonderful evening, viewing the movie. It was amazing. Everyone's words and the way they expressed them was so touching. Great job!" * "I saw the premier of the film last Wednesday and it was amazing. It was so moving to hear the reasons and experiences that led people to their calling, both religious and laity. A must see."

"Thank you for the wonderful and inspiring film.  You captured the essence of message so well- everyone has a calling to do as Jesus did regardless of gender, race, or creed."   *   "We thoroughly enjoyed the movie.  The photography- how you unfolded the story-the development of each person- wonderful.  Would catholic communities be so.  Thank you."

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