In this month of November, Pope Francis invites us to pray for him: “Let us pray for the Pope so that in the exercise of his mission he continues to accompany in faith the flock entrusted to him, with the help of the Holy Spirit.” In light of this intention and following the teaching of Pope Francis in his pontifical documents, I recommend these films to comment on and analyze in our communities.
The Pope: Answers by Màrius Sanchez, Jordi Évole (Hulu, 2023)
Ten young people from various parts of the world leave their respective homes to meet Pope Francis in Rome. The Pope also leaves the Vatican to meet with these young people in an ad hoc space to talk with them and listen to their worries, concerns and dreams. Let’s comment on the questions that young people ask Pope Francis and what he answers from the heart. Let us also comment on what he wrote in his apostolic exhortation Christus vivit: “Young people are not meant to become discouraged; they are meant to dream great things, to seek vast horizons, to aim higher, to take on the world, to accept challenges and to offer the best of themselves to the building of something better. That is why I constantly urge young people not to let themselves be robbed of hope; to each of them I repeat: ‘Let no one despise your youth’ (1 Tim 4:12).” (n.15). Let us pray for Pope Francis to continue closely accompanying young people and with him.
Pope Francis: A Man of His Word by Wim Wenders (Switzerland, 2018)
A great documentary that brings us closer to Pope Francis, to his pastoral work when he was bishop of Buenos Aires, his words spoken in homilies and speeches, his words linked to works of closeness to the poor and his dreams and actions to live the Gospel since his encounter with Jesus. In a footnote in his encyclical Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis himself refers to this film when he tells us: “God does not see with his eyes, God sees with his heart. And God’s love is the same for everyone, regardless of religion. Even if they are atheists, his love is the same. When the last day comes, and there is sufficient light to see things as they really are, we are going to find ourselves quite surprised” (n. 281). Let us pray for Pope Francis so that with the help of the Holy Spirit he continues to accompany us as a shepherd and introduce us to that God who looks at us with his heart.
The Letter: A Message for Our Earth by Nicolas Brown (EU, 2022)
This documentary presented by YouTube Originals tells the story of the trip that an indigenous leader from the Amazon, a climate refugee from Senegal, a young environmental activist from India and a couple of scientists from Hawaii make to Rome to talk with Pope Francis about the environmental crisis facing the world. Let us allow ourselves to be touched by these shocking images and testimonies about the care of our common home like someone who receives a letter or warning message. Let us reflect on these words of Pope Francis that we find in his recent apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum: “Eight years have passed since I published the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, when I wanted to share with all of you, my brothers and sisters of our suffering planet, my heartfelt concerns about the care of our common home. Yet, with the passage of time, I have realized that our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point.” (no. 2). Let us pray for Pope Francis to continue accompanying us in the faith and exhort us to take care of our common home.
Stories of a Generation with Pope Francis by Somona Ercolani, Elias, Nohely Floritza Barahona, Rupert Clague, Natalia Bermudez Fierro, Omer Shamir (Italy, 2021)
In this documentary series, seniors from various countries, including the Pope, share their stories with young filmmakers. The four episodes have the following names: Love, Dreams, Struggle and Work. These stories are fascinating and have the objective of making young people value and appreciate the wisdom of older people. Let us comment on these numbers from the apostolic exhortation Christus vivit: “ The Word of God recommends not losing contact with the elders, in order to gather their experience: ‘Go to the meeting of the elders, and if you find a wise man, join him [… ]. If you see a prudent man, get up early to look for him, may your feet wear out the threshold of his door’ ( Sir 6:34.36). In any case, the long years that they lived and everything they have gone through in life should lead us to look at them with respect: ‘Stand before the gray-haired man’ (Lev 19:32). Because ‘strength is the adornment of the young, gray hair is the honor of the old’ ( Pr 20:29) […] The break between generations has never served and will not serve the world” (n. 188-191). Let us pray for Pope Francis so that he continues to be a uniting factor between generations.
Sergio Guzmán, SJ
National Coordinator of the Pope’s Prayer Network Mexico