Every year I organize an event I call "Saint Night" for the youth program. The various faith development classes create displays and informative games honoring three select saints a year. This year's saints are Don Bosco, Joan of Arc and Giorgio Frassati. The goal of the saint night is to educate the young people and adults of our parish on how "human" these saints were and how, though flawed, they stayed true to the gospels and lived a life of heroic virtue and faith. It hopefully helps participants relate to these great men and women so that they can see a common element in the lives of the saint with their own. These displays are presented to parents and youth at a large gathering in the gym and is made all the more enticing with everyone bringing a dish to share for a potluck celebration.
The culminating event of the evening is a presentation created by my Junior High Youth Council. In the past, we've performed a play on the life of one of our saints on the school stage. But with the rise of technology and the relative ease of creating movies with video recorders, we have raised the bar by creating an actual film of the saint’s life. The youth council members serve as the actors, the church provides the environment for filming, our caring and sharing center provides the costumes, I served as the organizer and producer and my husband serves as the writer, camera man and editor of the film. (He does a great job although it takes a lot of time.) The saint we decided to tell the story of was Joan of Arc. We researched her life, obtained the actual transcripts of her trial, and filmed her story in an eclectic fashion focusing most of the film on her trial. Now, the youth council was adamant that a burning scene should occur. They felt that since they could not burn a real person, an effigy of one would be really good...almost better than the real thing. HA!
Me: "What do you all want to burn in effigy?"
Youth Council Members (sinisterly): A Barbie!
Me: A Barbie? That looks like Joan of Arc?
Youth Council: Yeah!
So. A Barbie.
Well, we finished filming all the scenes except for the final scene depicting the burning of Joan. We decided to film the scene from our home since we had most of the supplies there. Now, keep in mind that I have young sons. Curious young sons that were very interested in this Barbie burning since they have zero love for such a "useless" toy, but a great love for fire. As we set up the backyard with a stake and enough leaves for smoke, anticipation grew throughout the house. Jack, Gus and Nick were chattering to themselves about the Barbie burning. A couple of youth council kids came over to witness the event. I was sifting through my cabinets for vegetable oil (to douse her in) and matches, and Chris was preparing the camera for the one chance to get it right. In no time we were all gathered at the stake for the burning. The set was quiet. As Chris lit the first match, Gus had a question:
Dad, do all families burn Barbies?
At that point the set burst out in laughter and our noble cameraman stopped the tape. Take Two!!
(I hope to post thel film on the blog through U-Tube, but I need to get permission of parents first.)
Here are some pictures of the filming.