Local News Archive
Print Issue: July 4, 1985
Archdiocese Producing Color Film On Vocations
By Rita McInerney
A 25-minute color film created to promote vocations to the priesthood and the Archdiocese of Atlanta is being readied for viewing in September.
The film is a joint project of the Irish and American vocations departments directed by Father Edward J. Dillon (Irish) and Father Edward J. Thein (American). The idea took shape last winter when the two priests started talking about what could be done to promote the archdiocese and the priesthood in general, both here and in Ireland. What they wanted, according to Father Thein, was a professional, modern approach geared to appeal to high school level youth, older students and men considering later vocations. The focus would be two-fold, to develop awareness of what vocation is and what a vocation could be in the archdiocese.
The archdiocese has been seeking vocations in Ireland since the mid-1950s when the late Msgr. P.J. OConnor began making annual trips to that country to talk with young men interested in serving here.
Funding for the film, being produced by Melear Multi-Media, Inc., of Marietta , came from the budgets of Fathers Dillon and Thein, from the vocation committee of the Knights of Columbus and from the Serra Club.
Twenty minutes will center on the general idea of the priesthood and the archdiocese. For the Irish version, a five-minute segment, for the domestic version, will look at the needs of the potential candidates from the United States.
The crew filmed in several locations: the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit in Conyers; the site for the new parish, Christ Our Hope in Lithonia; Sts. Peter and Paul in Decatur; St. Judes in Sandy Springs, Our Lady of Lourdes, Sacred Heart and Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta.
Events captured on film were the June 1 ordination of Father Peter J. Rau by Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan in the cathedral, a parish Mass and a wedding. Recordings of local choirs, folk groups and congregational singing will be heard on the sound track.
We tried to convey Atlanta as a diocese of intercity, urban, suburban and rural area. We covered the wide spectrum of different types of priests in the archdiocese, young and old, American and Irish, focusing on their unique call to the priesthood and how they live their commitment, Father Thein says.
Dialogue between the two vocations directors was written by them, comments from the priests interviewed were spontaneous. Giving their on camera views were: Father John Adamski, pastor of St. Anthonys parish in southwest Atlanta; Father Bill Hoffman who is in charge of the Spanish apostolate and the permanent diaconate; Father Richard P. Wise, assistant at St. Philip in Benizi in Jonesboro, who also ministers to death row inmates at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center at Jackson; Father Bruce Wilkinson, assistant at St. Anthonys and chairman of the Archdiocesan Commission for Black Catholics; Father Hugh Marren, an Irish priest recently appointed pastor at Sacred Heart in Milledgeville; Father Richard Lopez, a teacher at St. Pius X High School and Archbishop Donnellan.
It was a different experience and made me appreciative of TV people who do it for a living. Perhaps the best part was hearing responses from my brother priests, their joys, learning more about them, Father Thein admits.
Background scenes include the Atlanta skyline, MARTA, outside the chancery on West Peachtree Street. The roving camera drew many crowds around the city during the 100 hours of filming. Local scenes will be spliced in with the interviews, church ceremonies, reflections of the archbishop and historical slides.
Father Thein expects the first step in a series of projects the vocations department will be inaugurating to foster local vocations. They are down at the present time and we are very concerned about that. Its one of the reasons why we want to make a more intensive effort on the local level.
We are one of about eight dioceses in the U.S. that have done this. While we dont have a complete figure on the cost, the focus of the archbishop was to present a quality presentation to interest both young and old in vocations. We are becoming very conscious these days there are a lot of people choosing to enter the priesthood at a later age, in the 40s and 50s. With this type of presentation we hope to interest a wide gamut, Father Thein explains.
Larry Melear, of Holy Family parish, Marietta, says his firm produces educational and instructional audio visuals. He has done numerous assignments for the diocese since the firm was started ten years ago. One assignment, a film strip on evangelization, was distributed and used in dioceses in 30 states.
Cefus McRae, director and camera man, has worked with Melear for several years. He also does work for CBS and has been nominated for an Emmy award for his camera and editing work of a sports event. Walter James, in charge of audio and video, has been involved in motion picture and television work for many years. He worked on the television series, Route 66 and The Dukes of Hazzard. He is a member of St. Oliver Plunkett parish in Snellville.