The Catholic Association
The Catholic Association
Ep. 269 Tim Moriarty Talks Jesus Thirsts & A New Maternity Home in Miami!

Episode Description

Following the success of Hermanos de la Calle, a non-profit that works tirelessly to rescue homeless from the streets of Miami, founder Narciso Muñoz describes his newest project aimed to help pregnant mothers in need. Hearts for Life is a maternity home opening soon in the Sunshine State that will rescue mothers experiencing crisis pregnancies, offering a place to stay and a network of maternity care services to give women and girls a comprehensive alternative to abortion.

Tim Moriarty, executive producer of Jesus Thirsts, joins us with a glimpse of the amazing new film stirring hearts about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. With its smashing success at the box office, Jesus Thirsts has already become the second highest grossing documentary of 2024.

Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily for this week as he continues his landmark journey along the Eucharistic Pilgrimage.


Narciso Muñoz and his wife Malena came to Miami in 2006 from Argentina. The Catholic parents of eight children were looking for a tangible way to practice their faith outside church. They found their answer in what began by helping other faith based organizations serve food to displaced people in downtown Miami. Their efforts soon grew to become Hermanos de la Calle, a non-profit that has successfully placed over 3,000 homeless people into permanent residences since 2016. Following the success of the project, the couple is launching a non-profit dedicated to rescuing women and girls in crisis pregnancies. Their new Hearts for Life maternity home will open this summer in Miami, to provide safe haven and a variety of support services for women in need – not only during pregnancy but continuing until a mother has reached a self supportive scenario for her and her child.

Tim Moriarty is owner and executive director of Castletown Media, with credits in the film and TV industries as an actor, writer, director, and producer. His contributions include popular TV shows such Blue Bloods, The Blacklist, House of Cards, Luke Cage, and Manifest. He has also worked on numerous films and commercial projects. With a degree in Philosophy from Boston College and an MFA in Acting from Louisiana State University, he founded Castletown Media in 2017 “to tell meaningful and inspiring stories.” His latest project, Jesus Thirsts, landed at number one in the US box office during its three-day Fathom Events release. The film became Fathom’s highest grossing documentary of 2024 and the second highest grossing documentary of the year across all studios. Jesus Thirsts: The Miracle of the Eucharist will return to theaters nationwide June 18 and 19.

Father Roger Landry is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. He writes for numerous publications, speaks on radio and TV, and is the author of the book, Plan of Life: Habits to Help You Grow Closer to God. He is a graduate of Harvard and the Pontifical North American College in Rome, and was Attaché to the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the UN in New York. Father Landry has embarked on the full 1500-mile Eucharist Pilgrimage.

The following transcript is machine generated.

Episode 269 Transcript

GrazieHello friends, and welcome to Conversations with Consequences. And we are the radio show and podcast of the Catholic Association where we aim to change the culture one conversation at a time. You can listen to conversations with consequences on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network. We are also on Sirius XM Channel 130. Of course, our radio show is always a podcast.
Go to the Catholic Association Dawgs podcast or directly to wherever you listen to your podcasts. I'm your host is Dr. Gracie Christie. And next, we are joined by a neighbor, a friend, and now a coworker at a wonderful new project in Miami. Welcome to the show, Narciso Munoz.
Narciso MuñozHello, Gracie. Thanks for having me here.
GrazieWell, I'm very excited to have you because we you mostly and me, I'm along for the ride and hoping to to provide as much assistance as I can, are involved in a wonderful new project here in Miami, and I thought our listeners should hear all about it. And the project has to do with being a safe haven and a whole a whole web of wonderful services for expectant mothers who are in need in some sort of crisis or just need an assistance in this difficult time of their lives.
So Narcissa you and your wife, Marlena, happen to be really well poised and well positioned to embark on a project that will include as its centerpiece a maternity home where expectant moms, pregnant moms, can come forward, their pregnancies and that that difficult period after the baby's born until they get set up on their feet again after the baby comes.
So tell our listeners why you and your wife, Marlena, are exactly the right people to launch this project.
Narciso MuñozI hope we have the right people. We are just normal people that we need to. We think that, you know, sometimes you need to do something basically, we we are running today a nonprofit that take care of homeless people. And from time to time, we we get in touch with a lot of homeless pregnant women and we see the the the suffering of women that is pregnant.
And let's say, how can I say this? It's like they are alone. Sometimes they came from domestic violence, sometimes they are with the issue, the addictions or whatever, and they have nowhere to go. When the first the first, let's say, hand that they receive from the public sector or when they go to a hospital. Or when they go.
Or even to two people A went to do an abortion. And for us, it's like super tough, you know, because it's a it's it's not the way to do it. So we are always trying to to fight, especially for the invisible ones and the ones that nobody cares. And really we think that abortion is something that it's it's very hard here.
It's very tough. And and we want to rush to help pregnant woman and to and to make a statement that to have kids to have babies. It's not a it's not an issue. It's not an issue of of your economic situation or whatever. It's always a blessing.
Narciso MuñozAnd we want to help that. You give us a blessing. You know.
GrazieYou and Marlena, you as you say, you're involved in a in a homeless ministry, and it's it's I think it bears telling. Why didn't you tell us about your ministry? I know it started eight years ago in a very simple way, but it has blossomed and grown. Tell us about that and how your faith, especially this is a this is a Catholic radio show.
Tell us how your faith drove you to the streets and how and how God has helped your homeless ministry. Ministry.
Narciso MuñozIt's it's I think it's amazing. The other day, I was sending a message to 1 to 1 bishop in Argentina. I live in Key Biscayne, and like.
GrazieWhich is in Miami. It's a suburb of Miami.
Narciso MuñozFrom Miami? Yes, I'm originally from Argentina. 18 years ago, we came here to to Miami to to I work in a bank. So they they transferred me here. It was only a couple of years ago. But then I you know, I have I have many kids who have eight kids. So they they were some of them born here and maybe it was like 15 years ago I received a visit from a bishop from Argentina for a very poor town, Argentina.
It was fun because it was a bishop from the, say, I have my my, my brother in law, he's from the Uffizi. And because of that and we have a big family, whatever, from time to time we receive priests that are arriving from Argentina. And one of these guys was a bishop and they can he can talk to my house and say, listen, mercy.
So I need if you could help me, because we are building a church here or a seminary and I need some help. So we we did a bilingual bingo here that they and one of the clubs that it's in that they beat this game. And I was impressed by the support of the community. We we collect a lot of funds and and that was the first call to say maybe it's like it's time that ordinary people do some things apart from your, let's say, comfort zone.
And I, it really brought a lot of joy to us to do something for others. That was, I think, one of the first time that I say, Well, we said of waiting others to do something. Let's do something ourselves, because it's our time. I start to realize that it was all the time. It was our time to do something.
We did this for like five years, and then one day you have a, let's say, a calling that somebody told me, Hey, you're doing things not for your community, but from other communities. No, you are from here. And then I did the emails. Retreat from You was like a change that I see that somebody was doing something here.
And and I, I started to to think of the of the importance of showing my kids that there was another reality and that we live the faith. We walk the talk on the faith. Where is Jesus? You know it's in the wonder in any the one that is hungry and the one that it's a growth and one. So we started going to the homeless.
The first goal was going to a soup kitchen that was that is here in Miami. It's right by the Missionaries of Charity, Madison Press. And they they gave food for 300 homeless. I started to go with my kids and then I realized that I need to what maybe was good to have like more more connection with the homeless apart from just giving a food.
So we started to go into the streets and that was like a movement. We started with very few people, families, and then boom, it's it's the games. We realized in a very short term, in a very short time that that really the homeless more than hungry for food. They were hungry for society. They were hungry to be to be listened.
They were hungry to be seen as a person, not like a homeless, You know, to see that person on it's behind the homeless.
GrazieAnd when you and your and your friends go out to visit the homeless and you talk to them on the streets, you pray with them as well.
Narciso MuñozWe pray with them. And it was funny because the first homies that we take out from the street, it has my my name and I see. So and when I when I met him, he says, I never like my name and never knew what I was cold. What? I'm cold. No, see. So although he was born on October 29 with his son, I see.
So that that's why he's 40. He was named like that as well as my great grandfather. But the thing is that he he told me that for me was like an epiphany, You know, like a girl is talking to me with this. So one of the things we never want to change the to change like a normal nonprofit.
We always, for us, evangelization. It's it's key is the essence of this is to it's it's to the homeless but also to the society that support that that it's with so it's it's this the who serve you know the one that you serve or you are being served by the one that you're serving.
GrazieIt's the apostolate it's creating creating an apostolate so that the people who take part in it are rising spiritually right there.
Narciso MuñozThey see Jesus. I think the visual call I know that told me once who are with the homeless and with with a group of kids. And he came with us and and it was one of the things that he told us, listen, guys, Latino white feel so well, it says because you see the faith in Jesus of Jesus on the one that you are helping.
And sometimes they see the face of Jesus in you, and that's the that's a.
GrazieVery beautiful ministry.
Narciso MuñozSo, yes, this is this is where heaven where we have like little, little windows of heaven in our life. Whereas that for me was like, boom, you know, it's it's.
GrazieNot like a social work organization because it's heart to heart. The heart of the the one who helps communicates with the heart of the one that is helped. Right. And the.
Narciso MuñozDefinition.
GrazieThat and that help goes back and forth. It's it grows right. And communication.
Narciso MuñozExactly. Exactly. That's why we always we go from the church to the streets for us is super important. We we give it our crosses. We give crosses of some friends. It's on the streets. Every house that we have, it's name after a saint, we we keep that that it's super important. Although we are receiving no funds from the government or whatever, we are open to every new to everyone but our our call it's is this is to show you know that that it's real Jesus is here and it's among us.
Graziehow beautiful And I see so tell but tell our listeners tell our listeners how okay so the the the organization is called Romano's de la Casa and there's a beautiful website if you want to read more about it. But tell us how you've grown. How has this organization grown? Well, basically.
Narciso MuñozWe started we started again going to the to the streets of the very beginning. We give food, but then the second, third time they were you're almost become like the homeless instead of homeless. It's now all Peter, Juan, Pedro. You just don't know the names, you know, And then you feel a no, I'm returning to my house and these guys are and they're storming downtown.
Let's do something about it. So we started to connect with rehabs. Those years were very, very tough on the opioid crisis. So we need a lot of rehab, a lot of space there. We we connected some some homeless to the to the rehabs. Then they when they when they finish the treatment, they came back and they were again homeless.
So we decided, okay, let's rent a house. And we put all our friends together. So we got some money, we rent a house and then once again, it's all like things that prejudice that we have at the very beginning, that every time the barrier was was we passed that barrier. The first prejudice hates. Homeless are all bad people and they are, you know, you want I went there and that and they were not lucky.
They were just people with the lottery of life place they bad against them or maybe, you know, they were ill or maybe they have whatever they have. But it just people that really with a little connection, a lot of them you could help and.
GrazieSome of them you help to connect with family. This is something you do all the time.
Narciso MuñozYou work for us. What we what we again, the first let's say they are thirsty or they are hungry also site of community. That's that we are we are community animals. We need to be part of a tribe. And what we realize is that sometime it's these guys maybe because they are, they feel like kind of they feel embarrassed of their actual situation.
But nevertheless, they still follow the life of their families via Instagram, via Facebook. Most of the homeless during the day, they go to the public library for especially Miami, when they're super hot because they have AC, they have computers and they have a good bathroom and they have security. So if you think you go to a public library, everybody's there.
And what are they doing Most of them, they are they are via Internet. They are following their own families. So and so.
Narciso MuñozIt's very tragic because the pictures of the stories that you publish there, it's like you're almost a king. You're living the life of a of a prince in most of it is fake. No, but but what you see is like, wow, these guys are now, you're.
GrazieHappy. Only the happy moments are on Instagram.
Narciso MuñozExactly. Exactly. But what is interesting is that they know some of the families and sometimes they can they are embarrassed. So what we once we we get trust, we get connection with the with these people that are homeless. The first thing is, okay, let's reconnect with your family. Where is your family? And we've been reconnecting a lot of people.
Sometimes they follow the streets and say, No, my mother hate me, okay, she hated you maybe the first 2 hours when you were out. But now it's been ten years and she she's like she she's desperate to know if you're alive or not. And most of the cases we we call and we send them, we send them back with the families.
That's how we're first called. Second is if they don't have a family, try to understand the situation. We provide them a family. We enter the house and we place the people, the person with other people that were homeless and now they are not homeless anymore. And one important thing is that once we place them there, they have they what we make them is they have to pay a rent.
So we we try to to get them the, let's say, programs that or checks that that they may have or if not they have to to start working or do something in order to regain dignity. One of the main issues is again, it's dignity. It's it's self-esteem. You know, it is confidence. And when you make a living, you start growing on that.
GrazieI'm going to my listeners are going to be impressed when when they hear the answer to this question, how many people right now, men, women and children are you providing housing for with Romano's? VALACHI Yeah.
Narciso MuñozWell, today we have 140 that are homeless in our houses and then we have I don't know exactly today, but last week we have 50 people in in hotel with they are we we are in charge of that migrants are. All right. So we used to have 100, sometimes between 100 and sometimes 50. So 250 more or less.
GrazieSo let's what's beautiful about one of the things that's beautiful about this is that you are a trusted provider for the city of Miami for so the money is there in a sense, right? There's a lot of money and in the government to be spent. But much of this money is spent unwisely across across the country when it comes to to really desperate people, like people who live on the street.
But you're able to not just through your donations and your volunteer, your volunteer network, which is extensive, but you're also able to harness the power of the government monies and use it in a proper way, in a way that actually works, where people are really being brought up off the streets and and embarked on a new life, a life of dignity and respect and all.
I know, because I know you will and I know our listeners and I know you all based on on the beautiful idea of the foundational idea of our faith, which is that every human person is made in the image of God. And that when we when we see a brother or a sister, we see Jesus.
Narciso MuñozExactly.
GrazieThat natural. So the natural progression has been recently to move into that that space that we talked about in the beginning, which is the protection of, of, of of women who are who are expectant. And I know that one of the things that has shocked you, as you mentioned before, is that when you have assisted a young pregnant woman and you help her get to a shelter, they she's offered an abortion because the idea is that the child now is a problem.
So the child is not seen as a coming blessing. The child is not seen as a child of God. The child is seen as a problem that can be eliminated. So I know that that was that's a huge impetus for for your next project. For this next project that I'm I'm happy enough I'm super happy to be involved in, which is called Hearts for Light.
So tell us about Hearts for Life, starting with the centerpiece, which I think is a very special thing, which is the maternity home.
Narciso MuñozExactly what we eat from time to time. We we receive a lot of calls from from pregnant women, and we try to help them as much as we can. We have we we work with all the network, all the of the of the homeless trust which are it's really good and we we are able to place them in shelters sometimes in one of our houses or other places.
You know always we rush if there is a pregnant woman with us to help them, there was there was a maternity home not very far here from Miami that they they have some some some issues. And they decided to to close and they they they call us. So if you want to continue with the with the work that they were doing, it was impossible for us to say no.
You know, when they when you are in this in this in this game and you receive these calls, it's just you just a call from heaven saying, hey, now we have this on top of that, we have the abortion that it's that the abortion that it's been added to the to the ballot this year and for me also was very tough.
You know, when Roe versus Wade was was going down to to see a lot of companies, hey, come work with us. And if you want to if you want to have an abortion, I would say whatever you to to make the abortion. So whatever it was like were with us and don't have babies anymore. And that for me, it's like we need to do something.
I think we need to be more vocal and we need to walk the talk. We need to okay, if you are pro-life, okay, let's help the woman that I need. You know, it's it's more than I think, more than my I fully agree with the part that it's a sin. It's a mother. And it's it's more than a mother because you have the mother killing the kids.
So it's a disaster. But okay, let's do something. I can say that. But what do you do for the for the woman that is really in desperate need? Well, we want to offer a place to. There will be no pregnant woman in our in our environment that we are going to left alone. You know, it's for us, it's a calling.
It's it's to lives that are that you're dealing, especially one that has No, no committed. Not that it is it's it's a pure soul for us. It's it's it's it's a super call to do something and when we receive we were struggling with this that okay let's do something more let's let's help them more. I have a we we we we've been helping a pregnant women.
There were addicts to have kids. I have a couple of good sense said there were more there and we baptize them and it was beautiful and again every every child is a blessing every time and to be part of it, it's it's super blessing. So for us, it's there was a calling and again it's it's like it's how God operates it.
We receive some monies. We say, okay, let's open this. I remember when we cross at the supermarket, I told you we are doing it. I mean.
GrazieYes, exactly.
Narciso MuñozSo after that one day I was okay. Now we need to have a ceremony received that day or 50 minutes later, the call of a priest. They have to hear some nuns that they they need to do something weight on to as we're opening this. Okay. Wearing as well. Then we received a call from another person that I have these these houses because why don't you rent it?
Okay. So it's like it's impossible. You know, when when every those it's like the, the the spirit is it's, it's in and it's you feel the power of it. So it.
GrazieOpens you know.
Narciso MuñozWe are.
GrazieEvery door gets opened and we know your God wants the project to succeed. He wants the project to start and exactly so the house so the house will open in July, I believe.
Narciso MuñozWe are we are waiting for FPL, which is the electricity to be in. And then when we started with this, we received maybe one call every week from a pregnant woman. Now we're receiving like four or five calls every day or five calls maybe every two days. So as soon as we have electricity, we are going to open, we are going to start with with the pregnant women at the very beginning with no kids, just to to to see how it works.
We want to have like nine, nine pregnant women there. But again, if they have kids, we will help anyway. So for us is but this will be like we want to have and we want to we want to focus on, especially in in women that are, let's say, tempted for abortion. We we want to fight to get that good fight.
You know, we want to be on top of it. And if you are thinking of an abortion, call us and we will again, To have a baby should not be an economic problem. It should not be should not be a problem or whatever you know you have. We are going to help you if if the baby beats whatever, we are going to help you anyway.
We are we are fighting for life here.
GrazieIt's that I see the the maternity home as a centerpiece of a much larger of a much larger banquet. So what other things will you be doing for pregnant women in crisis?
Narciso MuñozWe will. We have again, we have all the the let's say they continue of caring of of what is a homeless trust. So if you are homeless and you're pregnant, call us. We are going to to find you a place to go. If not, our house are going to find you another another place. Then we have a lot of resources for work.
So maybe you need money, maybe you need. We are also very good connection. Again, community with with with people that want to reintegrate to the community. So maybe what you needed, just maybe, I don't know, some extra money to pay the rent because now there were two living in your house and two income and now you have only one and you can't afford it.
Let's talk. We want to we want to try again to to figure out how again to be pregnant. And it's not a it's not something that it has to be something good. And especially in this time. Well, it's always like that. It's always a blessing since they know it's in the Bible, since every every time, okay, you will have more kids.
It's like a super blessing. But on top of that two, they in the United States, it really needs kids. So it's a time to it's really it's really something that we are again, we we want to put skin on the game. We are going to to be to be vocal on it.
GrazieDo you envision a lot of volunteers wanting to assist you and people too far away?
Narciso MuñozDefinitely. I think one of the things that we discover with that there is a lot of people that wants to help, but they don't find a place to help. And we are we are starting we started last week, nights of compassion in Miami. 300 people show up. It's like it's like there is a lot of people that wants to have again in this time that you are everybody is connected, but not connected because you are following the life of others via telephone.
You don't even call for for for a birthday. You just send a text. So we take a but there is a need of again, to have like personal and real experience of, of seeing the and the walking, seeing, touching, smelling. I don't know. It's like I'm the especially pregnant women babies. It's like today I was working here at the park and one woman just stopped me.
A When are you open? I want to help right now. And she has nothing to do. Catholics, nothing. Jesus, I mean, and we receive a lot of calls for that. We have no I think on the chat of of the maternity that we didn't open yet. We have like 100 people just waiting for for help for for being able to help, you know, to be part of it.
So we really we are it's not me or Marlena, just it happens that we open a door and there's a lot of people willing to, to make, you know, a little, you know, the to, to have this project going on.
GrazieAs you say. Nancy So the spirit is, is engaged in our favor and and wonderful things are going to happen. They're already happening. Where can our listeners learn more about in Manzella and your wonderful new project for Life?
Narciso MuñozWe have we have a website that each settlement was La casa dot org org. And then we have an Instagram page where we, we post stories and things that that are happening in house for life. We, we yet we don't we are going to have a website just for that then we're going to have an Instagram just for that.
But from now on we are we are still with the Romano's website until we we launch. I think that maybe in two weeks you're going to see that it's a reality. And we we started.
GrazieWell, in the meantime our listeners can help with prayers and and maybe go on Instagram and see see get ideas for for your own personal apostolate in your own towns. I mean, it's the it's these it's these grassroots, community based, parish based, faith based efforts that I think really, really change hearts and and move mountains much more than than just the government lumbering around and throwing throwing money at the problem.
So it's a wonderful example.
Narciso MuñozI think that, you know, one thing that we something Miami and City of Miami will have 600, 600 homeless right now that's not yeah they they're they we have a party that was like 600 people. Maybe you're thinking, there are too many homeless. Okay, maybe you can help 600. But if each of if you just help one and then the guy next to you hook one up, then the problem.
So bring in women. It's how many are like in desperate say they are not the thousands or or maybe if we get all together we can do this instead of the okay, kill your baby. You can say, okay, let me help you and you will see, you know, you will have the blessing of a lot of making really this world a better one.
GrazieWell, amen. Those are wonderful words. And thank you and see. So Munoz at from Romano's. Welcome back to Conversations with Consequences. I'm your host is Dr. Gracie Christie. And joining us now is a special guest. His name is Tim Moriarty. He's the executive producer of the film that's Taking the World by Storm amid the Eucharistic Pilgrimage, which we've been talking a lot about on our show.
The film is called Jesus Thirsts The Miracle of the Eucharist, and he is also the owner of Castletown Media. Welcome to the show, Tim.
Tim MoriartyThank you so much for having me. I look forward to talking a little bit about this film and the great Eucharistic revival that's happening in the country.
GrazieSo I was able to watch the film and I just yesterday is very fresh in my mind and it's it's a film that I think is vastly necessary right now, and it's watching the film. You understand why right from the beginning, because you are right at the top at the front of the film. You talk about this horrifying fact that recent polling has shown that only a third of Catholics in the United States even believe that the Eucharist is the body, the actual body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And that's such a shocking statistic. Why is it was this an impetus for you? I mean, it's also we have, of course, the Eucharistic revival year, but was this an impetus for you to make this film?
Tim MoriartyIt was it was so so the the genesis of the film came through. Deacon Steve Greco, the executive producer who works out of the Diocese of Orange, Runs Spiritual Hearts Ministry. He had a conversation with with Jim Wahlberg. He had done a series of conferences really focused on reviving devotion to the Eucharist and there was a sense, there was a sense that to aid the great work of Eucharistic revival, it would be very helpful to have a film that could be be not just a piece of catechesis, but a kind of a almost initiation into the Catholic worldview, the sacramental worldview, a deep visceral sense of what is it, what does it really mean?
The crisis present in the Eucharist is something that engages not just the head, but also the heart and also the senses. So we had worked previously with Jim Wahlberg on a film, a Mother Teresa, No Greater Love, which was produced for the Knights of Columbus, and this was now about a year ago. Where were these conversations started and said, well, you know, let's let's let's work on creating something that could be a great tool of evangelization and try and give people not just not just head knowledge, but a real experience of of of what it is.
So as you know, on the top of the film, we really we start with Archbishop Fulton Sheen, where he has that wonderful.
GrazieWonderful quote.
Tim MoriartyWhere he says, if you know, if you were alive at the time of our Lord, you would have seen just as humanity. But if you had faith, you would have pierced the humanity and you would have seen divinity. And he says, the same is true in our own time. When we look at bread and wine, it's faith that allows us to pierce the merely material components of this to see the divine reality that's just beyond the veil.
And so what we wanted this film to be was a kind of experiential, experiential film that allowed people to get a glimpse of that unseen world that we're growing more and more numb to in our modern world with scientism and materialism, And to try and bring back that sense of the divine really comes to us, comes to meet us in the sacraments, and most especially the Blessed Sacrament.
GrazieSo the Wonder and the R and the supernatural quality of it that is that is intertwined with the very physical reality of the Eucharist, right? Supernatural. And it's physical at the same time. And that's something that, as you say in our culture, that kind of awareness has has worn away right from the way that we interact with the world.
Right? Like we're very we're very, if we can't count it, you know, we can look it up on, on, on our phones, then it doesn't exist, which is such a is such a limiting view, Right.
Tim MoriartyYeah, it's so true. It's so true. We live kind of I mean, I think it's a kind of Gnostic or neo gnostic situation where we're so split between something that is purely, you know, reality is simply that which we sense. And yet there's a kind of strange forms of spirituality, sort of new age forms of spirituality that have come where it's divorced from the physical world.
And so what the sacraments are, and I think the real the genius of the Catholic sacramental worldview is that, no, actually we live in reality is is is unified. We're not we don't need to be split apart between a purely reductionistic scientific prism and then kind of various strange forms of spirituality, which in which in a way are kind of flights away from the body, in a way from the material world.
The sacraments are that which which God becomes manifest through the physical world, the Christ incarnation, divinity becomes flesh. And this is most especially true in the Eucharist. So the recovery of the sense of what the Eucharist is, is in a way, I think the great anecdote to some of the the prison of the reductionism and also the conflate from reality that we're facing as a culture, I think it's absolutely critical for the church to to to revive that deep, deep gift that we have in the Eucharist.
GrazieAnd maybe a lot of the dysfunction that we're experiencing is that that we're not we're not in touch with that that same that same complexity of our own human natures. Right. Because we understand ourselves to be very material and very physical. And at the same time, we know that we feel that we have a spirit and a soul about us, the things that we cannot touch, but that are just as important as as our physical bodies.
And Andrew, our society has closed that out for us. That understanding and the Eucharist brings it back.
Tim MoriartyIt really does. No, I think that's exactly right. I think that's exactly right. I mean, I was really struck just, you know, just after coming off of the box office success last week and going to Mass in St Paul's second reading, where he talks about, you know, the unseen, you know, the seen as that which is transitory, but the unseen is the eternal in the relationship between the two is is really so important in this this longing.
I think that is a thought. I think one of the things that's been moving to us is the responses that we've received from people that have seen the film, a family member who has been disaffected from the church, and we really left during some of the period where the scandals were on the front page and haven't really been to Mass and, you know, eight or nine years.
She called and she was bawling and said that there was some something in the film that was a kind of it stirred in her, a kind of remembering something that had been forgotten, that there was something that and this is what I think the role of beauty is, and especially the role of Catholic art, rather than leading an evangelization with, say, you know, leading with doctrines which are utterly important, absolutely important, or rather than leading with even moral rules, which again, are absolutely important, starting with beauty to attract to to attract people to the faith.
Because in in the experience of beauty, you know, when you're stopped in your tracks and something opens up, something pierces through a kind of mundane kind of muddling through that we kind of get into in our day to day life and there's something attractive that makes you want to go deeper. That's that's really, I think, what was what we were attempting to do with this film is to present the richness of the Eucharist, the theological depth of the Eucharist, the biblical roots of it, but also to do it in a beautiful way that that it would maybe attract those who have, you know, come to the opinion that they no longer wanted to have anything
to do with the church who were wounded by the church to to say, just why don't you just stop for a moment and look at this, just look at this, you know, and consider how beautiful this is. And that might lead then to the further conversation. I think that's very important for us to recover beauty and the attractiveness and the utter splendor of both of our faith.
GrazieWell, you certainly you certainly did that in the film. And one thing that moved me very much is the way that you you approach this from all these different directions, different countries, different people, kinds of people, right. You have religious people. You have a scene in which Jim Wahlberg in a prison, in a prison ministry, nuns, nuns making the host itself in the in their convent monks picking the the the the grapes from the very vines Yeah and all these all these.
you go to Uganda. I think it's Uganda and. Yes that's right. That's right. This beautiful, this beautiful, these beautiful scenes of people that are so different from us and yet they're adoring at the same at the same sight that, that, that we adore here in our homes in United States where things are so different and yet so the same.
Right. We have that same necessity for our Lord. How beautiful the way that you wove all of this in, it's very effective and. Well, it really does reach deep inside.
Tim MoriartyYeah. Yeah. Ah, I can see that when we began when we began a year ago and I'm not sure this before there was a sense of, of real. I've never felt so, such, so much trepidation, so fear. Because you think, how can you do a film about the Eucharist and how can you do justice to the subject matter?
You know, it's it's seemed very daunting. And I think for us, what what really helped overcome that was was trying to bring it to prayer and essentially to say, you know, there's no way we do justice to this, but maybe we can point to the reality and allow ourselves just to try to be used as instruments the in the process.
And what happened then is you just you know, we knew we wanted to we knew we needed a structure for the film and we wanted the structure to be based upon what Jesus does on the road to a mass where, as you mentioned, we start with these statistics and kind of the bad news. We're where we are today.
We just needed to be really honest and sober about where we are. But then it's very there's a parallel to the way in which the disciples who were leaving Jerusalem were dejected and hopeless. Yes, yes. And in many cases, you look at statistics today, there can be that sense where we feel, where's the church going? What's happening? So what do we do?
What is Jesus do? He goes back and in and into the scriptures where all of these things from the past are pointing to him in it as the as the disciples are hearing this, their hearts are stirring within them. And then he, you know, breaks the bread and then their eyes are open. So in the film, the structure is based on that, where we go into the stories of the Old Testament.
But in order to prevent it from merely being, you know, sort of an academic exercise, as you say, we wanted to weave in various stories from around the world where, you know, when we talk about, for instance, the the Manna the heavenly manna, then we sort of segway into the scene where the sisters are creating Eucharistic hosts. So there's this there's a kind of a reason for moving to that story, or we want to talk about the sense of dejection, the sense of hopelessness.
That's when we can move into this segment of the prison, these prisoners who can have, you know, they're in life, lifetime sentences, and yet the devotion they have to the Eucharist and the hope and the faith that they have. So.
Grazieand then that gorgeous scene of a Vietnamese forgetting his name, the Vietnamese who spent a month. Yes, Cardinal.
Tim MoriartyAntoine spent.
Grazie13 years correctly in solitary.
Tim MoriartyThat's right. Yes.
Graziehow beautiful that was. And I thought, yes, you know, you show his hands dirty from the from his cell and holding using his own hand as a chalice to hold on just a few drops of wine to make his to make his mass, not to write, to bring forth the blood of Jesus. It was extremely moving.
Tim MoriartyYeah. I think that one in particular was very because we just it shows the it shows that, you know, we can often take for granted the fact that, you know, daily mass is offered in churches and chapels all over the place. We aren't being persecuted for that in the same way that people of the past were. But to see somebody who was imprisoned by the communist for 13 years, nine years in solitary, and they literally his family members cleverly smuggled in wine by, you know, hiding it under a jar of medicine, and then Eucharistic hosts and a small flashlight.
And he he would it was absolutely sustained him in the midst of these the horrors of the prison. But even more so I mean what his sister said, the real miracle of this was the compassion that he had towards the guards, that they were abusing him. And yet he treated them as Christ and many of them converted. And there's a sense in which the Eucharist, when we feed on this spiritual food, it transforms us and allows us to be Christ.
Even in the midst of these horrible situation. That story in particular, I think is really helpful. It's it comes right after we talk about some of the some of the problems in the priesthood and some of the scandals to say, well, this is actually what the priesthood is and can be. It's that sense of a call and response where we are honest about where we are.
We're not being Pollyanna about it, but it's the response is to go back to this is what the faith is. This is what happens when when we surrender to Christ in the Eucharist.
GrazieTell me what you think our society, our American society would look like if the Eucharistic revival is as successful as it ought to be, If your film changes hearts and opens minds to the to the reality of the Eucharist, what what would this do to our society?
Tim MoriartyWell, that's a it's a tremendous question. I mean, in a way, I think as Christians or as Christians were meant to be, salt of the world were meant to Catholicism is ultimately saying is that this is reality. This is what reality is. Our society right now feels very untethered from anything objective. It feels like we're just awash in subjectivism and relativism.
So a real Eucharistic revival is is essential because in my you know, in my estimation, we're very similar situation. It could be somewhat parallel to a kind of collapse of the civilization where we're in a moment, where kind of a civilizational transition in the church is back right where we were. There's a great book by Monsignor Shea from From Christendom to Apostolic Mission.
I think he's right that this the current culture we're in is in a way, a decayed Christendom, and we're left with values like equality and freedom. But they're untethered from the rest of the Christian worldview, and it's created a tremendous problem. There's just there's a lot of almost absurdity.
GrazieAnd they've taken on that totalitarian strength, right, Because they're just because they're disconnected and unbalanced by the other virtues.
Tim MoriartyThat's exactly right. And that's the definition of a heresy, which is you take one truth and you take it so far to the exclusion of others. Some have said this, you know, modernism is a kind of ultimately a Christian heresy where where you take certain Christian values, but they separate them from the eternal and from the transcendent. So, I mean, to me, it's is Christians and Catholics realizing that, yeah, there is a there is a situation where our institutions are going through transition.
But look at the look at the apostles. When Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection, they were like, you know, 12 guys and, you know, and women who were totally on with in love with Christ, and they set the world on fire. So what would it look like? I think it's I think it would look like seeking to bring bring the kingdom of God more and more present on Earth.
I think it would be instead, our institutions would be transformed by being informed by the Catholic worldview, I think. But I think we're in a situation now where as Catholics, we absolutely need to go back to the fundamentals and we need to really go deep into our faith so that we can deal with the very strong cultural headwinds that are that are increasingly opposed to the Catholic worldview, opposed to Christ, opposed to these eternal values, what it's going to look like in the future.
I think it will look different than it has looked in the last 2000 years. But I think I think the Christian story, the Catholic story, is very much alive and I'm much more interested in sort of playing defense at this point. You know, what happens if we're really on fire and what happens what happens if we can bring Christ present to this situation?
That's that's where I think we need to be focused.
GrazieWell, and that's that's your film. Exactly that. Right? Jesus, there's the miracle of the Eucharist. Tell our listeners, please, where they can watch Jesus thirsts.
Tim MoriartySo the success of the film during our initial box office release led Fathom Events to give us two additional dates on June 18th and 19th. You can find out more information about which theaters that Jesus thirsts film dotcom. And we're really encouraging the people who haven't seen it yet to come out. People have seen it before. It's a great opportunity to bring your friends and family members who maybe are disaffected from the church, people who haven't been to church in a couple of decades even.
We're really, you know, we think it's the response that we've received. It's there's something very special, I think, in the whole Eucharistic revival movement. And this this film can help, I think, stir that flame of love that for many, many of us kind of lies dormant. And so so again, June 18th and 19th are the two dates next week go to Jesus.
There's film Dcoms and you can find information about which theater it will be playing.
GrazieWell, thank you. Tim Moriarty, executive producer of the film. Thank you for joining us today and we wish you the best of success. And I hope all our listeners will go online and buy their tickets for the next show.
Tim MoriartyThank you so much. God bless.
GrazieYou. And now Father Roger Landry offers us, as is customary, a short and inspiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday's gospel.
Fr. LandryThis is Father Roger Landry. And the privilege for me to be with you as we enter into the consequential conversation, what Jesus wants to have with each of us this Sunday. So it gives us two parables in the Kingdom of God, which He speaks to us about the way the church grows. And we have a chance to apply.
The lessons we learned to important celebrations were marking during these days. The first image Jesus gives is of a farmer who scatters seed on his farmland land without his knowing how and without effort. On his part day and night, the seed begins to grow, yielding the blade the year in the grain until harvest. The seed does this Jesus notes of its own accord.
This teaches us that the growth of the kingdom, the growth of the church is a spiritual reality, is not fundamentally our work, but God's and perceptively, patiently, constantly it grows. The second image is the more well-known one of a mustard seed, which is very tiny as it's shown in the ground. But through that process of growth springs up and can become one of the largest of plants where birds can come to dwell.
The kingdom can be and seem at times very small, apparently insignificant. But Jesus says it contains within the power of God to grow, to be enormous. Taken together, these images convey to us a sense of the wonder we should have with regard to the church as a spiritual reality and the role of God in its growth. We're tempted to look at the church sometimes too much as a human institution, an organization that we must build.
Like entrepreneurs build a business. We sing songs like Let US Build the City of God, which material is similar to the ancient saying Let us build the Tower of Babel? Jesus thing by these images that we don't build it. God does. The farmer certainly does some of the occasionally arduous work. So in the seed until in the soil.
But most of the work happens by what's contained in the seed, what's contained in the soil and the water and sunshine God provides. So what is with the growth in the church? God gives the seed of faith. He provides the water of the sacrament, the sunshine of various blessings, the nutrients in the soil like teaching and formation. And because God is involved, we should have confidence in every age.
For me, the parable of the mustard Seed is a great source of hope, even though the kingdom begins very small in the heart of one faithful person, over time, it can grow huge. This is, of course, what we see and how the Kingdom began in the Annunciation. Went out of Mary's. Yes, the seed with a capital less conceived within her by the power of the Holy Spirit, began to grow, and eventually all nations would be embraced in the branches of his arms in the cross.
We saw this happen on Pentecost when out of a small band of apostles, the church started and soon experienced enormous growth was seen. This happened in the founding of parishes out of a few committed families of religious movements and orders that began only with the founder and families when one person's conversion led to the conversion of so many other generations.
We witness it in what is occurring now in so many African countries and even in the south and southwest of the United States. We see it in the history of the Benedictines, the Franciscans, the Dominicans, the Jesuits, the Daughters of Charity, the Missionaries of Charity, the Test of Life, the Dominicans of Mary, mother of the Eucharist, the CFR and so many others.
We see it in the explosive growth of focus on college campuses, the expansion of ministries like World on Fire, the Augustine Institute, Dynamic Catholic Ascension Press and others what starts small but with faith grows. There's therefore always reason for hope. But at the same time, we have to confront the question as to whether what Jesus said about the growth of the seed has an expiration date.
Even though we can point to success stories, many religious orders today, many parishes, even whole dioceses, are experiencing not continued growth but shrinkage. Just look at what's happening in many European countries where once the faith was strong, but now there are few breeds, few religious and few practicing faithful. Many U.S. dioceses are closing churches and schools rather than building new ones.
How are we to understand this? I believe that if the church has shrunk in some places, Lord has permitted it, not wanted it so that He could somehow bring greater good out of it, including giving us all the opportunity to experience a new the full meaning of this parable through beginning again, beginning smaller, like the new mustard seed planted from the tall tree.
The truth is that when the church has become as big as a middle Eastern mustard tree, many of us can forget the lessons that God teaches us through these parables. The church is like a tree, an enormous institution. Many can stay on the peripheries and neither share in or contribute much of anything to the growth God wants to bring about.
Convincing themselves that, quote others unquote, will do the work of planting, tilling and harvesting at a parish level. They can defer the responsibility to others to help pay the bills, to maintain the programs, to welcome newcomers, to spread the faith when we become closer to the side of it. Besides mustard seed, however, we can't pass the spiritual and apostolic back in the same way.
We need to step up to the plate. This is a great grace. It's also a challenge. It's also a promise, an image of hope for an areas that by human indices are in decline. The Lord Jesus wants us to become the living 21st century illustrations of these parables. He wants us to have the opportunity to experience the exhilarating growth of the mustard seed as we root ourselves in him.
We have every hope that, just like thousands of times before us in the history of the church, will get bigger again and many others will be able to nest in the branches that will come from this union. Christian influence, rather than waning, will wax. But we must trust in Jesus like the first Christian. We need to believe in Him.
Like the founders of religious orders. We need to hope in him, like the pioneer generations of lay faithful and parish who sacrificed so much to build churches on firm foundation. We're now in the midst of a three year plus national Eucharistic revival, which the church turns with confident faith to the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist as he seeks to help the church grow Ecclesia de Eucharistic, the church is proclaimed from its earliest day.
The church grows from the Eucharist. The Eucharistic Jesus wants to help the church grow. Now, I've been privileged over the last 29 days to see some of the growth that's happening. I'm going to Seton or Eastern route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage journey from New Haven, Indianapolis. Throughout the Northeast, we passed two Catholic areas that were once teeming with thriving parishes, but that over time have had to deal with closing parishes and Catholic schools, shortages of priests and dire shortages of religious.
But in the midst of that, we've become witnesses not only to the real presence of Jesus in our midst, but also to the loving receptivity in response of people to the work he's trying to do in the church today. We've heard many times for faithful in particular parishes along our route that it's been a long time since they've seen their church that fall, even in especially on a weekday morning, afternoon or evening to boot.
We've seen the enthusiasm of people, especially families and young people, to participate in 15, 17 or 19 mile Eucharistic processions, rolling kids in strollers dragging them in little red wagons, young kids who, when passers by having never seen a Eucharistic procession, ask what we're protesting, shout out, we're with Jesus. We've heard the stories of teenage boys and girls and younger who come up to me and to the other pilgrims to say that they think God is calling them to be a priest or women religious right now in our midst, the Lord is trying to give us growth and to help the church rather than decline, grow anew.
Much of that growth is meant to happen in the in the domestic church. The family what the early saints used to call an ecclesial a church in miniature and the love of a husband and a wife. They can conceive and give birth not only to sons and daughters, but to disciples, to saints, to those who can do for the church in our lifetime.
What John Paul The second Teresa of Calcutta, Thomas Moore, Gianna Mohler, Fritz of Assisi, Dominic of Guzman, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena and others did in theirs. The Christian family is a place where these parables are meant to flourish. It's from that growth that the church as a whole grows. One faithful family is a time at a time.
As we celebrate Father's Day this weekend, we thank the Lord for our dads, especially for the ways that our dads in exercising their paternal love they're providing and protecting their giving advice and correction have helped us to grow as human beings and as Christians, we ask God to reward and bless them in this world, in the next, and to help their relationship with God grow to now and forever.
We return to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. The whole mystery of starting small and growing big is summarized in the mass as Jesus seeks to a to plant himself within us as a seed, as a grain of wheat falling to the ground in dying to bear fruit. As someone gives himself to us, hoping for good soil that together with him working within, can be our abundant growth.
If we receive even a little piece of the host within, we receive God and all His power. God wants to grow in us from that seemingly small start to transform us in such a way that with him living in us, we might transform the world. Entering into communion with Jesus, most especially in a mass, is where all growth in the church begins.
This is where our growth in the Church's directed. So we prepare to receive Jesus this Sunday, but as do so with faith in the parables, He will announce to us and cooperate with him as he seeks to grow within us and others patiently and perceptively, constantly and through our Yes, like that of the nation Church on Pentecost grow the kingdom.
God bless you.
GrazieThank you so much, Father Landry. To hear more of Father Landry's homilies, please visit Catholic preaching income and to follow him on the Eucharistic pilgrimage route dedicated to Saint Elizabeth Seton, please visit Seton Pilgrimage talk. And without really view for our prayers for a wonderful week for you and your families.