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Catholic Children’s Movies – a Review of CCC and a Fantastic Giveaway!

CCCKIDS-DEC-CATHOLICSISTAS (1)

CCCKids Saints campaign from Tuesday 12/02-Friday 12/05: 3 movie giveawaysWatch the spirit of giving and the magic of Christmas sparkle in your children’s eyes as they watch CCC of America’s award-winning animated films. This month we are featuring three saints with feast days in December.

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We absolutely love the CCC saints and heroes movies in our house; they are truly great aids to our children’s faith formation! They make the saints approachable for our children as we fall in love with the characters in the story. Several of the saints depicted in the movies have feast days this month, and we were glad to sit and watch them as a family as a way of learning about each saint. In honor of the CCCKids Campaign this week, they graciously sent us three saint movies to watch and review.

{We couldn’t pick a favorite movie at first, but eventually my boys settled on St. Nicholas (although probably because we have been talking a lot about his upcoming feast day, as they dream about the candy that will show up in their shoes!) Each of the movies is truly a treasure, and they would make wonderful Christmas gifts for children or godchildren.}

Francis Xavier and the Samurai’s Lost Treasure (feast day: December 3)

francisThe story begins with St. Francis as a university student, and depicts the friendship between St. Francis and St. Ignatius of Loyola; Francis learns about sacrifice from his friend, Ignatius, who secretly works to earn money to pay Francis’s tuition. Francis, inspired by his friend’s example, soon devotes his life to Christ, becomes a priest, and is sent to a village in India as a missionary. The villagers are pearl divers, and are required to fill a chest with pearls in order to pay their tax to the government; however, raiders continually descend upon their village to steal their chests of pearls. With Francis’ help, they are able to outsmart the raiders and save the village. Francis wins their friendship and the villagers ask to be baptized.

While in India, Francis also meets a displaced samurai in the village who is searching for a special black pearl to take back to the Emperor in his home country of Japan. When the samurai finds his pearl and returns to Japan, Francis decides to go with him to bring the Gospel to the Japanese. First, he must approach the Emperor to ask permission to preach. The pearl is stolen from the samurai, and is accidentally dropped in the Emperor’s crocodile pool. Francis not only saves the pearl, but also wins the samurai’s heart for Christ. His compassion on the pearl thieves also touches the Emperor’s heart, who allows the Good News of Jesus to be preached throughout Japan. Francis is an example of heroism and of the importance of preaching the Gospel despite impossible circumstances.

Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa (feast day: December 6)

nicholasNicholas is the son of a wealthy Christian man; even as a child, his generosity shines through. He trades his brand new horse in order to purchase a slave child, Adrian, about his own age, simply to set him free. When his parents die, he gives nearly all of his wealth to the church, and uses the rest to bless his neighbors. Nicholas’s love of Jesus causes the bishop to appoint him as his successor. He is well-loved by the people of his town, and many convert because of his example.

Soon, Emperor Diocletian issues a proclamation for the persecution of Christians. Nicholas’s cathedral is burned, and he is imprisoned for many years. When Constantine becomes Emperor, Nicholas is released, but he is told that Christianity has been all but wiped out. What a wonderful surprise when he walks into the newly rebuilt cathedral for Midnight Mass on Christmas and sees a full congregation, as well as his friend Adrian, now a priest, celebrating Mass!

The movie ends by explaining how Nicholas, the generous gift giver, was emulated through the centuries by other Christians, and how his memory lives on as he has been assimilated into different cultures. In American culture, the man we know as Santa Claus is actually our interpretation of St. Nicholas. “Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa” really does a wonderful job of tying in Santa with the good Saint, so as not to cause confusion among children. (In our house, we celebrate St. Nicholas Day and while we don’t really “do” Santa, our kids know that Santa is actually a representation of St. Nicholas, thanks to the explanation in the movie.)

Juan Diego: Messenger of Guadalupe (feast day: December 9; feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe: December 12)

juandiegoThis movie is a beautiful depiction of the love the Blessed Mother has for each one of us. Juan is a poor Indian convert who is struggling to reconcile his former Aztec beliefs with his new belief in Catholicism. He becomes discouraged as he is asked not to teach the children anymore because some of his ideas about religion are confused. Mary appears to Juan at the Hill of Tepeyac, reassuring him of her love for him, calling him “my littlest son.” After several days of appearing to him, she gives him roses to take to the Bishop so that he will believe the apparitions, and to convince him to build a church on the hill. Juan hurries to the Bishop’s house, and shows him the roses, which do not normally grow in Mexico in December. As the roses spill from his tilma, the image of Our Lady appears imprinted on the fabric – the image that we know as Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Bishop then believes Juan and has a church built there in honor of Mary.

This story not only illustrates Mary’s love for her spiritual children, but also has many humorous parts intertwined; a salesman is constantly trying to sell Juan a new tilma, but Juan insists that he prefers his old one. Of course, when Mary’s image appears, Juan must get a new one, and the salesman ends up giving one to Juan for free. The movie is truly delightful!

I really cannot recommend these movies enough; they are innocent, wholesome, educational, and entertaining. My only wish is that CCC produces more movies with new saints, and soon! I can give some suggestions as to what I’d love to see – St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Catherine of Siena, St. John Bosco… 😉

(I received 3 complimentary movies from CCC to review; all opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated for this review.)

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Giveaway:

Rejoice this Advent season with these beautifully animated stories learning charity from the real Saint Nick, discovering the courage of Juan Diego, and experience the importance of missionary work like Saint Francis Xavier. CCC of America will send the winners the DVDs along with other sweet treats!
[CCC PRODUCTIONS ARE 30 MIN AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH, SPANISH AND FRENCH)

Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway ends Friday, December 5, at midnight EST. US residents only.

 

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