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On the Journey – Sunday to Sunday
Sunday to Sunday, the Emmy-award-winning video series presents its recent documentary on St. Monica’s Catholic Community, Santa Monica, CA. This video documentary profiles four parishioners who Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson’s pastoral leadership has inspired.
In this short preview, Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in the highly acclaimed TV series “The Chosen,” introduces us to his fellow parishioners at Saint Monica’s. From building a maternity hospital in a desperately impoverished neighborhood in Nairobi, Kenya, to caring for elderly patients at UCLA in Santa Monica during Covid, the documentary is a richly told call to action for viewers searching for true joy in living. We hear from a top executive who trades his position in finance for college teaching, and we see how a counselor assists Saint Monica’s young couples in preparing for marriage and their life together.
From Sunday to Sunday’s inception three years ago, we’ve featured 13 of the country’s most engaging pastors and their faith communities. What’s unique about the St. Monica documentary is that we’re focusing primarily on the inspired work of parishioners.
For the past year, our cameras have been closely following the pastoral efforts of parishioners Jill Tabit (founder of New Dawn Africa), Bill Simon (Adjunct professor UCLA/civic leader), Briana Rodrigues (Nurse Practitioner, UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center), and Michael DiPaolo (Psychologist/marriage counselor). Each of their stories, rooted in faith, has an optimistic appeal for viewers and explores this vibrant parish community of faith that is Saint Monica’s.
Sunday to Sunday Episodes
Our video series rests on the excellence of great preachers, the all-important editorial element driving each episode. Our task is to create a conversation that peers into the personality and the humanity of each preacher. The belief that he or she has insight into that day's scripture as it applies to the community, familiar everyday surroundings, and the larger world.
We examine a preacher's ministry over time with the idea that he or she may provide a few recommendations or tips for those new to preaching. We set the conversation at their church and listen to their reflections on ministry, sometimes revealed in authors central to their thinking or spirituality.
Mostly we want to get to know the individuals and hear a sample of their preaching and observe how they conduct themselves before the congregation at a vibrant Sunday Mass with lectors, cantors, Eucharistic ministers, and the choir in full voice.
Preachers Among Us
One idea is that the preacher must be compelling enough that the viewer wants to stick around to the very end of the 28-minute episode and listen to the sermon. When media consumption is marked by seconds, minutes, and tweets, we may ask plenty of an audience.
To accommodate this reality, we produce eight-minute profile versions for the online edition of America Magazine. For educational use in seminary, university, and adult education, our website posts transcripts and study guides.
Overall, we want to create a film intimacy that draws on the community of faith with the cinematic techniques seen in films like "Of Gods and Men" (Director, Xavier Beauvior, 2010) "The Way" (Director, Emilio Estevez, 2010) and "Into Great Silence," (Director, Philip Groning, 2006).
Preachers & TV Production
With a minimum of planning, May 22, 2017 was Sunday to Sunday’s first day of production.
Carlos Torres, Jake Slonecker, and Father Mike walked into Saint Perpetua Church in Lafayette, placed chairs in front of the main altar, and began the first episode with Father John Kasper. We had two cameras, microphones, and just enough post-production editing.
These early pilot programs with John Kasper, Robert Sheeran, and Donal Godfrey greatly assisted our evolution. Over several months Carlos, Jake, and Father Mike learned how to capture the conversation and the homily within the confines of a church.
From what may have been a studio production like C-SPAN, we gradually moved to more sophisticated production with cinematic quality -- on location, almost 60 Minutes style. Cut Focus added their Red Digital Camera, better audio, adequate lighting, plenty of B-roll, and the outdoor drone shot. The pilot programs helped us gain valuable advice from professional colleagues in the news, sports, and film industry in New York and Los Angeles.