Film urges culture to bring God back

A documentary recently released by Father Robert Barron of Word on Fire ministries, “Catholicism: The New Evangelization,” is the second installment of the noted “Catholicism” series launched two years ago.

“It’s really quite different,” Father Barron said of the film in a phone conversation with the Denver Catholic Register from Mundelein Seminary near Chicago where he serves as rector and president. “The first one was a globe-spanning 10-part look at the whole of Catholicism, while this is more of a standard type documentary… looking at this whole issue of new evangelization: What does it mean? Who’s doing it? How do you do it?”

The first release, simply titled “Catholicism,” told the story of the faith using art, architecture, literature and music. The new film demonstrates practical ways Catholics are putting their faith into action in today’s increasingly secular world where the number of people with no religious affiliation has tripled in 30 years, and self-described atheism has increased 500 percent in the last 10 years.

“We need to reach out to those in our culture and invite them to know Christ and also reach out to those who have already been baptized, but have drifted,” Father Barron said. “We are called to awaken their faith and bring them closer to Jesus Christ and to his Church.”

“Catholicism: The New Evangelization,” released Sept. 3, is a 90-minute documentary hosted by Father Barron that begins with the definition and history of the new evangelization—from the Second Vatican Council and Blessed John XXII, through Pope Paul VI, to Blessed John Paul II. It then takes viewers on a tour to witness examples of “new ardor, new expressions and new methods,” as described by John Paul II.

Portions of that tour include Father Barron’s travels while rolling out the “Catholicism” series, primarily in Australia, England and the United States.

“I went to (Australia and England) for two weeks and … brought the film crew along,” he shared. “I said ‘Let’s just film some of my talks then we’ll film Church leaders and talk to people on the ground and see what’s happening.”

That’s how the documentary coalesced, he said.

The film showcases individuals and groups proclaiming the Gospel with creativity and innovation, such as global outreach with new media tools. Father Barron is well-known for his use of new media, reaching millions through Word On Fire where he posts homilies, commentaries and studies. More than 300 cultural commentaries he’s posted on YouTube have received more than eight million hits.

In addition to interviewing active young Catholics, the crew also spoke with notable Church authorities such as New York Times columnist and author of “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics,” Ross Douthat; University of Notre Dame professor and author of “The Unintended Reformation” Brad Gregory; and Denver Catholic Register syndicated columnist George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

“I’ve known George for a long time, we’re colleagues on NBC (News),” explained Father Barron. “I’ve admired him for a long time as one of the great culture commentators from a Catholic perspective and also an expert on John Paul II.”

Weigel authored “Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II” in 1999 and earlier this year released “Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church.”

“Catholicism: The New Evangelization” is accompanied by a study program for adult faith formation, written by Brandon Vogt, author of “The Church and the New Media.” Vogt was recently named content director for Word on Fire ministries.

For more information, visit or call 866-928-1237.




COMING UP: Team Samaritan cyclist goes ‘Everesting’ for the homeless and hungry

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When it comes to the daily sufferings of those who are homeless, there’s nothing like a 29,029-foot bike ride to keep things in perspective.

That’s exactly what Corbin Clement will be doing this Saturday, June 19, with a couple of his riding buddies as they attempt an “Everesting” ride to raise money for the Samaritan House homeless shelter in Denver. Starting at Witter Gulch Road in Evergreen, the three riders will climb Squaw Pass Road to a point in Clear Creek County and ride back down the hill for over eight laps, which amounts to roughly 190 miles in distance and the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing – hence the name “Everesting.” Their goal is to complete the feat in 20 hours or less.

Oh, and they can’t sleep. It is, indeed, just as crazy as it sounds. Those who aren’t avid cyclists might be wondering, “How in the world do you train for something like this?” 
“For training, it’s been just more or less ride as much as possible,” Clement told the Denver Catholic. “The training is structured around endurance, and that’s of course what Everesting is. It’s just a lot of peddling. So, a lot of my training so far has just been trying to ride as much as possible and ride longer high elevation rides.” 

In March, an Irish cyclist set the world record for Everesting when he completed the feat in six hours and 40 minutes. Clement isn’t trying to set a record, but regardless, it’s quite a feat to undertake, even for a seasoned athlete like him, whose pedigree includes snowboarding and rock climbing. 

“Our ride will be the same thing, but it’ll be pretty different,” Clement said. “We don’t have any sort of special bikes or super focused diet or a really regimented plan or a crew that’s very well-instructed on how we’re going to tackle this. I’ve read a couple of things to just kind of make it into a party — have friends come out to support you, get people to join you on certain laps…that’s kind of the approach we’re taking.” 

Clement has already raised $5,200 for Samaritan House, with a current goal of $8,000. This is Clement’s first year riding for Team Samaritan, but his dad, Kevin, has ridden for the team for several years. When his dad offered to give him an extra kit and uniform, Clement accepted, but didn’t want to take it without doing something help the cause. He could’ve simply opted for a nice ride in the countryside, but he chose to do something a bit more challenging.  

Corbin Clement used to experience the challenges that homeless people face on a daily basis when commuting through downtown Denver to work on his bike. This Saturday, he will raise money for Samaritan House homeless shelter by “Everesting,” a 190-mile bike ride that is the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing. (Photo provided)

“For some reason, the Everesting idea popped into my head,” he explained. “I think it’s one of those things that has a little bit of shock value for people who hear about it. It’s certainly something that’s gained more popularity and visibility in the last couple of years with endurance athletes. I wanted to choose something that would actually be a challenge for myself and something that I’d have to work towards.” 

Clement currently resides in Utah, but he used to live in Denver and commute by bike to work every day. During those rides to his office, which was located near Samaritan House, he would pass many homeless people and have conversations with them. This experience was also a motivating factor for his Everesting attempt for Team Samaritan. 

“It’s very different when you’re on a bike versus in a car because you’re right there,” Clement said. “If you stop at a stoplight and a homeless person is on the corner, whether or not they’re panhandling or something like that, you hear the conversations, or you’ll have a conversation with them. There are things you smell or you hear or you see that you just never would if you were in a car. So, it kind of made sense, too, with the biking aspect. It’s part of my community that I’ve lived and worked in for a very long time.” 

Clement’s Everesting attempt is one event in a series of endurance event’s he’s doing over the summer that culminates with the Leadville 100, a single-day mountain bike race across the Colorado Rockies. In that race, he will be riding to support young adults diagnosed with cancer by raising funds for First Descents.  

Both causes are near to Clement’s heart, and he said that while his Everesting attempt will be a form of “suffering,” it pales in comparison to what the homeless face day in and day out. This is ultimately why he’s riding and raising funds for Team Samaritan. 

“Any time we see a homeless person or people who have to live on the streets,” Clement said, “That is true suffering — true endurance — with no end in sight.” 

To learn more about Corbin’s fundraising efforts or to donate, click here.