Save Saint Agatha’s Parish
With so many empty churches and dispersed communities, what’s so special about the pending loss of Saint Agatha’s Church? Although the closing looms ahead, this particular church exists only in the Catholic sit-com Ordinary. Fans grieve that the December, 2013 Kickstarter funding project failed to meet its goal of $30,000. Ironically, the story line for the second season focused on saving the parish from closing after a fire in the rectory. As Oscar Wilde reminds us, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.” While the producers look for optional funding, let’s consider the implications for the Catholic Literary Revival.
Have you ever met resistance from agents or publishers because your award winning manuscript failed the test of “worldly appeal?” Did you hear, “the market salivates for something juicy and “Catholic” isn’t it? How would the market respond if “Catholic” themes, characters, writing and media became the latest rage?
Who would have imagined the sudden and profound impact of Pope Francis I on the world’s perception of Catholicism? Has the Grace of God achieved the impossible? Have other champions taken the field in this moment of Grace to clear a path for the rest of us? Isn’t it in our own interest that we assist?
May I argue that there exists a champion who represents a realistic and appealing view of a Catholic parish? As evidence, let the first season of Ordinary take the stand. Please invest about 100 minutes to view these four episodes.
The 2013 season reflects on many levels the Parable of the Prodigal Son. It’s timely, humorous, unflinching in its representation of Catholic beliefs and practices–realistic in showing the weaknesses and strengths of clergy and laity. Although a sit-com, Ordinary includes respectful prayer, honors the Divine Mercy Image, portrays parish structure and activities such as the Sacrament of Reconciliation, youth ministry and sessions of the RCIA program. It assists the church’s focus on evangelization. What better way to invite interest than to model the pathway to inquiry and admission? Most importantly, the writers, producers and actors portray the activities of Catholic Parish life as dynamic, realistic, current and hopeful, although a work in progress. Where else on television can you find Catholic Ninjas and Lego-animation of a gospel parable or a teen member of the youth ministry who thinks RCIA means “Our Central Intelligence Agency?” In other words, Ordinary says, Catholics are Cool! As such Ordinary clears the path for members of the Catholic Writers Guild and those who live and spread the Catholics message everywhere.
When you read the credits for Ordinary, the name “Quigley” pops-up under almost every heading. I wonder if the Quigley house was used as the Rectory of Saint Agatha’s Parish. It seems that at least two generations of Quigley family members participated. They also raised the $3,000 in production costs and contributed out of their own pockets to meet additional expenses. Season 2 would feature eight episodes beginning on Ash Wednesdays and Sundays in Lent and Easter, 2014.
Right now the Quigley family and friends could use some help. Let’s make this Christmas, a Quigley Family Christmas because through their media efforts, they clear the path for every member of the Catholic Writers Guild. Thanks to the Quigley’s toil in season 1 and hopefully season 2, Ordinary may begin to shift the tide in favor of all things Catholic and thereby advance the Catholic Literary Revival.
You can reach them through Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ordinaryshow