Steve Ray, best known as the adventurous, daring host, creator and star of the wildly popular Footprints of God film series from Ignatius Press which takes viewers on a journey through the Bible from Abraham to Augustine, introduced the ninth and newest film in the series on Friday, March 9, at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Canton, Michigan.
More than 300 fans gathered for the world premiere of the 75-minute documentary, Elijah & Elisha: Conscience of the Kingdom, which had been more than a year in the making
“When you pour a year of your life into a project and you finally show it to the world for the first time, it is always exciting and gratifying to see such a positive and enthusiastic response,” said Ray after the premiere.
Fr. Ron Richards, pastor of St. John Neumann, had graciously offered the church facilities for the premiere event and several of the church organizations provided refreshments. Parish staff members, including Lisa Bittner, Christian Service & Evangelization Coordinator, and Amanda Smith, Director of Marketing & Communications, were key in organizing and publicizing the event. Other volunteers, including the SJN Knights of Columbus, assisted at the premiere.
The nine films now available in the series are each about an hour-and-a-half, stand-alone films that paint a vivid picture of our salvation history from a Catholic perspective in an exciting, entertaining, dynamic way that the entire family can enjoy.
And the newest addition to the series certainly didn’t disappoint.
“This film was very entertaining. Steve is so enthusiastic,” said premiere attendee Mary Schmitt, a religious education teacher at the parish. “Since this was the first Footprints of God film I had seen, I did not quite know what to expect. I liked how the pilgrimage, classic art and Bible were brought in together at a fast-moving pace yet with enough detail to make those interested search out more. It also did not get so theological that it could intimidate those of us who are not as familiar with the subject matter.”
The film brought the attendees up close and personal with the two great prophets, Elijah and Elisha. The Rays traveled through Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Territory in order to follow in the prophets’ footsteps and to highlight these two great saints of salvation history as they shunned creature comforts and risked their lives, standing fearlessly against pagan priests and kings who opposed the God of Israel. Uttering fiery words and performing powerful miracles, the prophets proclaimed the word of God while facing constant persecution and rejection.
Ray’s wife, Janet, who is involved in every aspect of each film production, also attended the premiere.
“Janet and I do everything from travel arrangements, scriptwriting, crew logistics, budgeting, acting and directing on location in four countries, postproduction, art and music choices, and writing the study guide,” Ray explained.
Also attending the premiere was Ray’s 96-year-old mother and two of his brothers.
Proceeds from the event benefited the seminarians at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit as well as funding for the tenth film in the DVD series.
“To see the joy and excitement at its arrival and first showing was truly uplifting,” said Ray of the new movie. “We now set our sights for the year 2020 when we begin our tenth and final episode of the Footprints of God series. The final offering will be Doctors of the Church: Defining the Faith. So, the script writing begins and the plans ensue and we look forward to our next and final project.”
• For more information about The Footprints of God project, please go to www.FOGHelp.com.