Monday 17 May 2021

Martin Sheen Pilgrim on the Way - Rose Pacatte - People of God

Martin Sheen Pilgrim on the Way 
People of God Series
Rose Pacatte FSP 
ISBN 9780814637128
eISBN 9780814637371

This was the fourth volume in the People of God Series that I have read. It was one that was on my Wishlist for a long time, but the eBook was not available in my region. I have been a fan of Sheen’s film and television works and was aware his faith was important to him. I especially appreciated his portrayal of Catholicism as President Josiah Bartlet in the West Wing. And many years ago I had copy of The Jesus Meditations: A Guide for Contemplation written by Michael Kennedy and with an audio CD of meditations led by Martin Sheen. I only listened to a few and lent the book out, never to get it back. The few I listened to were wonderful. When I finally got my hands on this book I read it slowly over several days. 

While preparing this review I found that Sheen has lent his voice to a few books on meditation by Michael Kennedy. And he has written the forward or introduction to several books as well. I was well aware of the issues and problems during the filming of Apocalypse Now from a film and faith course at university. But there was much in the book that was new to me. The chapters in this volume are:

The Pilgrimage Begins
An Actor on the Way
Spiritual Journey
A Catholic Activist
Spirituality of an Activated Catholic

A lot of the book focuses on his activism. And social action. I would have loved to have read more about his personal devotion and piety. I feel like this book is a mix of broad overview, and a highlight of who’s who in Catholic social action. It does show an honest look at a man who struggled and was a revert to the faith. There is an excellent chapter about Sheen in Recovering Faith: Stories of Catholics Who Came Home by Lorene Hanley Duquin. Much of the writing in this book reminds me of that chapter. In some ways this volume feels disjointed. Jumping between accounts of Sheen’s life from friends and family, and from the author herself. Retelling stories about his actions and movements. 

But overall, I am glad I was able to track the book down and read it. And will likely read the book by Sheen and his son soon. Sheen’s faith is hard to pin down. In some ways he is very traditional, with frequent mass attendance and use of the Rosary. And in others he is very liberal or social action focused. The last chapter in the book tries to balance that out, called Spirituality of an Activated Catholic. It is a good spiritual biography. 

I consider this book well worth the read. Though for me it left more questions than answers. It is not my favorite in this series but still a pretty good book.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Sister Rose Pacatte FSP:
Corita Kent: Gentle Revolutionary of the Heart
Lights, Camera, Faith...! A Movie Lectionary, Cycle A
The Nativity Story: A Film Study Guide for Catholics
The Way: A Cinematic Retreat Guide

Contributed to by Sister Rose Pacatte FSP: 
Into Great Silence: A Film Study Guide: For Personal or Small Group Use
Lights Camera Faith - The Ten Commandments
Lights Camera Faith C
Lights, Camera... Faith! A Movie Lectiomary- Cycle B
Media Mindfulness: Educating Teens about Faith and Media
Our Media World
Through a Catholic Lens: Religious Perspectives of 19 Film Directors from Around the World

Books by or about Martin Sheen:
The Jesus Meditations - Michael Kennedy
Experiencing Jesus: Ten Meditations for a Changed Life - Michael Kennedy
Martin Sheen: Pilgrim on the Way - Rose Pacatte FSP
Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and Son - Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez

People of God Series:
John XXIII - Massimo Faggioli
Oscar Romero - Kevin Clarke
Megan Rice - Dennis Coday
Francis - Michael Collins
Flannery O’Connor - Angela O’Donnell
Dorothy Day - Patrick Jordan
Luis Antonio Tagle - Cindy Wooden
Georges and Pauline Vanier - Mary Francis Coadyn
Joseph Bernardin - Steven P. Millies
Corita Kent - Rose Pacatte
Daniel Rudd - Gary B. Agee
Helen Prejean - Joyce Duriga
Thea Bowman - J. Nutt

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