Eight years ago we were wrapping up a three day, Catholic youth event called Journey to Emmaus. Dan Meola, one of our "star" youth leaders, approached me and said how much he would like me to produce a video that captured his grandparents' amazing life.
Their fascinating history, set back in Michigan, painted a picture of what life was like, an encounter with Henry Ford, an amazing tour of duty in World War II, engagement, marriage, and ultimately, a tremendous adventure of faith involving eleven children and many more grandchildren. The gleam in Dan's eyes pronounced that his grandparents were his heroes, his pillars of faith.
So over a number of weekends we captured their story - often challenging, sometimes tragic, sometimes triumphant, but always illuminated with faith. At the end, I was personally overwhelmed by the grace of God pronounced through so many years of faith.
With all the history captured, I wanted them to speak directly to their children-- to share the most important message they would like to leave behind. In that last segment, which is posted below, you will see Dan and his Mom moved to tears. The feeling was that we had captured a tremendous gift that would endure. We could almost hear God say, "You have lived a magnificent, faith-filled life. Well done, my good and faithful servants."
It was powerful for sure. In fact, powerful enough to impact the hearts of hundreds of engaged couples over the many years my wife and I have served as Pre-Cana directors. The video clip is the grand-finale of the day with hardly a dry eye in the room. More than words, Jim and Eileen's living witness proclaims that God is truly with us, makes His Image known through family and marriage rightly lived.
Today, after a long bout with cancer, Jim was called home. As a result of his grandparent's faith and witness, Dan has committed his life to promoting the Church's beautiful vision of marriage and family life. He is a doctoral candidate at the John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C., and in a few more months, we will be blessed to capture the beginning of his own journey in marriage.
As for me, this was the first of what became "DVD Legacy Productions" - an award-winning, A&E Biography-type production offered to families-- to help them beautifully capture and pass along the important stories and legacy that define them. Go here to read more in a feature story about DVD Legacy by Catholic Exchange: http://catholicexchange.com/2007/09/15/81161/
Thank you Jim and Eileen. We love you, and are blessed by the great Love through you. Your legacy continues.
Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.