On Friday, November 21 and Saturday, November 22, the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the Dioceses of Monterey, Oakland, San Jose, and Stockton will sponsor the 2014 Faith Formation Conference. This year’s conference, the ninth annual event, will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Over 50 different workshops will be offered.
This year’s conference includes an added ‘special event’ on Friday, November 21: two screenings of the 2014 movie Desire of the Everlasting Hills, produced by Courage International, the church-approved ministry to and by people with same-sex attraction. The screenings will be at 5:30PM and at 7:30 PM in Ballroom H at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Each screening will be followed by a question and answer period with two of the three people profiled in the film, Paul and Rilene. From the Faith Formation Conference website:
“The film Desire of the Everlasting Hills delivers three intimate and candid portraits of Catholics who try to navigate the waters of self-understanding, faith and homosexuality. Dan, a gregarious musician who spent his life hiding a deep sense of isolation from those who loved him; Rilene, a successful businesswoman who realized that twenty-five years with her partner did not provide the fulfillment she had longed for; and Paul, an international model who, after a life of self-indulgence, found grace in the last place he expected….”
The movie’s website, www.everlastinghills.org, includes a welcome from Fr. Paul N. Check, Executive Director of Courage International. Fr. Check writes:
“It… takes humility and courage to face certain questions about our lives. One such question is, ‘How do I know if I am designing my life well? By what standard can I come to a conclusion?’ This question is closely linked with another, ‘What is the purpose of my life? What does it mean to be fulfilled and at peace?’ And these are the central questions around which the film Desire of the Everlasting Hills turns. The film does not claim to answer these questions completely. They have been mulled over, talked over, even fought over, for as long as humanity has found its home in this world. Anyone who has ever thought about whether he or she has “done the right thing,” has started to think about these questions.
I admire the three people whom you will see in this movie—Rilene, Dan and Paul. I admire them because of their humility and courage. I realize—and more important, they realize—that some viewers may be troubled, offended, or even angered by their stories. No one involved in making this film wishes to cause anyone distress. On the contrary. But if we are free to design our lives, then each of us will have a story, and whether or not this story is welcome, it deserves respect. It deserves respect not only for the unique mind and heart the story reveals, but also for what it may contain for others.”
Austin Ruse, reviewing the movie in Crisis Magazine, wrote “It is impossible to watch this important documentary without tears, and not sad tears either, but happy ones, tears that come from a joyful movement of the spirit. These are people who have been deeply wounded by the choices they have made and who have struggled through to a profound peace.”
As Dan, one of those profiled in the film, says “Chastity isn’t a consolation prize. Our lives are better because of the Church’s teachings. The Church shouldn’t be embarrassed. They should shout it from the mountaintops. This is the Good News!”
A trailer for the movie may be seen at the website www.everlastinghills.org
The Santa Clara Convention center is located at 5001 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara, CA 95054. Walk-ins to the Conference are welcome.
Note: An email from Rilene Simpson, one of those profiled in the movie, was published in today's California Catholic Daily.