Praying for those involved in cinema and theatre
Who are the Fraternity of St. Genesius?
The Fraternity of St Genesius was founded on 19th January 2007 in Drogheda, Ireland, and was formally approved as a Catholic Private Association of The Faithful on 27 August of the same year. The Fraternity was founded in response to the calls of the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI for the renewal of culture, and as a means of supporting the men and women of the theatrical and cinematic arts through spiritual accompaniment.
As the Church has always understood, and as iterated by the Second Vatican Council, the Church is missionary by nature and she has a deep concern for all men and women whom she sees as the children of God and who are called to come to know and love him. In response to this, the Church preaches the Gospel in the modern world and looks to every area of human life to see Christ’s presence and then seeks to make that presence known to those who inhabit or work within those areas so they may also recognise the presence of the Lord, know that they are not alone and that they are called to know Christ, to seek his Face, to achieve holiness in their daily lives and be received into his kingdom. It is this teaching which is at the heart of the Fraternity’s mission.
While the Church sends her missionaries to go out into the world to preach and bear witness to the Gospel, she also needs all of her children not only to accompany these missionaries and those to whom they are going through frequent and fervent prayer and through the merits of their sacrifices, but also to become missionaries themselves even within their homes and communities. The Fraternity aims to participate in the fulfilment of both of these expectations. Recognising the challenges and at times difficulties experienced by those who work in the theatrical and cinematic arts, she first of all offers to them the prayers and spiritual support of her members so they may recognise the light which God has entrusted to them for the sake of Christ, the Gospel and the joy of humanity.
While we all know the famous, most of those who work in these areas are unknown and far from wealthy; much of their time is spent looking for work and for many the reality of a career in acting or production may not be realised. Those who are famous have other problems to face as they are forced to live their lives under constant scrutiny and are at times expected to live up to a level of celebrity which may be alien to their deepest desires and hopes, or which may challenge the values they would like to emulate in their lives. The demands of fame may lead them in directions they would not ordinarily like to go or seduces them into a way of living which will ultimately prove fruitless or even destructive. Acknowledging these difficulties, the Church urges the men and women of the theatrical and cinematic arts to see the presence of Jesus Christ in their lives and work and to orientate themselves towards him and his will in order to find the unique dignity of their calling, support in their hardships and indeed the responsibility which has been placed on their shoulders as missionaries of the Gospel themselves: the Fraternity seeks to assist the Church in this pastoral mission through the spiritual offering of her members.
Coupled with this, members of the Fraternity also seek to work for the renewal of culture. Theatre and, most particularly, cinema and the media are the most powerful and influential institutions in the world today and are areas in which the Gospel must also be heard and lived. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have emphasized the importance of culture in the world and the proper place it occupies in promoting the Gospel. In this spirit the Fraternity seeks to play its part in the renewal of culture chiefly through prayer and sacrifice, but also in the promotion of Christian culture and ideas. In recent years there has been a renaissance in Christian productions; many fine movies have emerged, some with explicitly Christian themes; and this is to be applauded and supported.
As the Fraternity was being founded it made its own the words of Pope Paul VI given to the men and women of the cultural arts during a Papal Audience in 1967 which reveal the motivation for our prayer and action:
"It is a fact that when you writers and artists are able to reveal in the human condition, however lowly or sad it may be, a spark of goodness, at that very instant a glow of beauty pervades your whole work. We are not asking of you that you should play the part of moralists. We are only asking you to have confidence in your mysterious power of opening up the glorious regions of light that lie behind the mystery of man's life"
© The Fraternity of St Genesius 2007
The Story so far…
27th June 2006: During a pilgrimage to Fátima, the idea of the Fraternity is confided to Our Lady and consecrated to her Immaculate Heart at the Capelinha (site of the apparitions), after a number of years discernment.
19th January 2007: Fraternity founded in Drogheda, Ireland, and formation of acting Council.
7th August 2007: The Acting Council ratifies and adopts the Constitution of the Fraternity.
25th August 2007: Bishop Michael Smith of Meath presides over the Feast Day Mass of St Genesius in St Mary’s Church, Drogheda, bringing a successful novena to its conclusion. During the Mass the Constitution is presented to Bishop Smith, who is the local Ordinary, with a request that the Church grant it formal approval as a private association of Christ’s faithful. The Proto-Icon of St Genesius is anointed and consecrated by Bishop Smith, and dedicated to service within the Fraternity.
27th August 2007: Bishop Michael Smith formally approves the Fraternity and gives permission for
the association to call itself ‘Catholic’.
19th November 2007: First Fraternity Prayer Group is established, meeting monthly in St Mary’s Church, Drogheda.
19th January 2008: Fraternity celebrates its first anniversary.
4th February 2008: Fraternity is granted charitable status and is now a Registered Charity in Ireland.
4th July 2008: The newly formed St Genesius Drama Group give their first performance of the late John Paul II's play The Jewellers Shop, in Dublin.
25th October 2008: The first official pilgrimage to the tomb of St Genesius in Rome.
29th October 2008: Pope Benedict XVI praises the work of the Fraternity during a meeting with the Father Director.
19th January 2009: The Fraternity celebrates its second anniversary, with a Solemn Sung Mass of the Holy Spirit, in St. Mary's Church Drogheda.
20th January 2010: The Fraternity celebrates its third anniversary.
20th April 2010: Official Fraternity pilgrimage to Turin for the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Shroud.
© The Fraternity of St Genesius 2007
Fr John Hogan, Father Director