Thursday, February 3, 2011

Nine Days that Changed the World


Last night, Ruah Woods was one of the sponsors of a Cincinnati screening of the documentary, "Nine Days that Changed the World." More than 700 people registered for the event long before Feb. 2 arrived. It was wonderful to see a variety of people in attendance -- children, teens, parents, grandparents, priests, government officials.

The film focused on Pope John Paul II's nine day pilgrimage to Poland, beginning June 2, 1979. The effect of his first papal visit to his homeland was the eventual end of Communism in Eastern Europe. During the documentary, never-before-seen footage of the pilgrimage is shown, and several Polish and American experts are interviewed about the peaceful end to a dehumanizing vision of the human person.

Perhaps I missed it because the acoustics made the film difficult to hear, but I was surprised at the lack of personal stories about John Paul II's encounter with his homeland. The beauty of his visit was that he heralded the unique and unrepeatable nature of each and every human person -- a message inimical to Communism's tenets. To focus on the personal stories of some of the Polish people would have made a fascinating sidebar to the grand story of the pilgrimage's historic consequences.

Nevertheless, having been to Poland, the frequent scenes from the nation make one feel present in the country. Powerful stories are shared. Videos of the late Holy Father speaking to enormous crowds are featured. And a glimpse of the message of John Paul's life and pontificate -- the greatness of the human person made in God's image and likeness and redeemed by Christ -- is given.

To order copies of the DVD, visit the documentary's website.

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