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Our readersNovember 17, 2022
sebastian gomes stands next to a man who is featured in the people of god video. they stand in front of a plywood-boarded up church entrance. sebastian wears a red shirt, the man an orange oneAl Archer (right), parishioner at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, talks with Sebastian Gomes of America Media outside a hurricane-damaged middle school in Golden Meadow, La.

In October, America Media released a groundbreaking documentary meant to deepen the ongoing conversation about the Catholic Church in the United States. Led by executive editor Sebastian Gomes, America’s video team undertook a yearlong process to produce “People of God: How Catholic Parish Life is Changing in the United States,” which in 60 minutes profiles four very different parishes across the country. The documentary, available exclusively to digital subscribers, has received a great deal of feedback.


Thank you for this presentation. It reminds us that we need to continue to empower and form the laity as well as additional formation of the clergy to adapt to the changing world no matter what part of the country we live in. Meeting people where they are and accompanying them to Christ is our mission, celebrated as both individuals and as a community, both local and global.
David Gruber

My husband and I are Catholics in the Midwest, currently trying to understand where we belong when it comes to a parish. Our openly gay son is the apple of our eyes and we fully support him and his being able to live authentically. However, finding a place within the church where we can openly and proudly speak about him currently feels unlikely. I hope and pray that this film will open minds and cause discussions to ensue—about many issues, not just LGBTQ+—so that we love as Jesus has taught us to love.
Mary Kondrath

Watching your captivating video straight through, I was all the time thinking, “This is the same story playing out in our parish!” I was even naming people at our parish that are a perfect match for the personalities you featured throughout the video. I want to try to find a way to show this video at one of our Knight [of Columbus] meetings. It’s a real eye opener. Job well done.
Peter Arnez

This documentary was very well put together. I would hope it would be picked up and shown on PBS. It deserves being viewed by a larger audience. It is an excellent exploration of where the U.S. church is today and the questions and issues facing it. Bravo to the team that worked on this documentary.
Michele Cirone-Collier

This documentary brought tears to my eyes. As an elderly shut in, the pandemic brought me the wonderful gift of “attending” Mass at my old parish, which is about 3,000 miles away!

Excellent presentation. I am so concerned about the “graying” of the Catholic Church in the Northeast, as I see so few younger people at Mass. We also have such discord among us. It was nice to hear about St. Cecilia’s Parish and its online ministry. Trying to focus on what unites us rather than on what divides us is quite the challenge these days.
Catherine Arventos

This documentary brought tears to my eyes. As an elderly shut in, the pandemic brought me the wonderful gift of “attending” Mass at my old parish, which is about 3,000 miles away! I enjoy seeing my friends, even from behind. It is such a gift to be worshiping in a familiar way.
Pauline Reynolds

This film makes clear that we are in transition to new ways of being community. It was heartening to see how much courage people exhibited in the face of necessary and inevitable change. The young priest from Wisconsin nailed it by emphasizing relationships over institutional trappings. But I would like to understand more about the disconnect between the institutional church and millennials.
Maria Rouphail

This video captured a cross section of our beautiful church and faith in God. Mobilization means people no longer attach to one place for 40 years and never move. Myself and others I know moved at least three times for work reasons to new communities, where building relationships is not a given. Family life is not a one-stop shop in one spot forever. My own need was always seeking “belonging” and a need to nurture faith in God within community, which is not easy in a transient culture. In the film I saw how discipleship is a modern current flowing in all of the parishes profiled.
Marcelle Marion

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