Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
When my sister and I were kids, we had an amazing family experience — we were invited to a viewing of the Chicago premiere of “The Long Gray Line” (1955), starring Tyrone Power, Ward Bond and Maureen O’Hara. It is the story of an Irish immigrant, Martin Maher, his career at West Point, and the influence that one man had on the Army cadets — instilling in them integrity and the love of country. Our viewing took place at a packed Chicago Theatre.
After the movie, the stars had a receiving line, and we waited as the actors graciously greeted each of the viewers. When it came to our family, the center of attention was my sister, Penny, who with her blonde, curly hair, looked like Shirley Temple, and received a big kiss from the film’s major star, Tyrone Power. I received a handshake from Maureen O’Hara. I guess that I didn’t look like Shirley Temple, had no curly, blonde hair, and was a bit overweight. Nevertheless, it was a memorable evening, enjoying the gala of a premiere film showing.
Last Thursday evening, I attended another premiere showing. This time, it was closer to home, both in distance and to my heart. The film was “The Power In My Hands,” a testimonial tribute to the Rosary. It was the creation of the Rosary Evangelization Apostolate, Dick and Terry Boldin, with tremendous technical advice from Margie Mandli. The film presented a number of testimonials to the Rosary from all walks of life (a football star, a family, a young married couple, a mother, deacons, a lay evangelizer), and even some recognizable members of our archdiocese who attribute the power of the Rosary to the transformation and shaping of their lives.
One particular presentation was of a bishop from a conflict area of Africa who had a vision that offered him an answer. Many from the audience offered their praise and gratitude for this work.
I had a small part (Helen Hayes said, “No small parts, only small actors”), offering reflections on the Rosary. After the production, all the presenters in the film stood in a receiving line, accepting comments from a grateful audience. Kathy Paulin (affectionately referred to as “The Fudge Lady”), who creates delicious fudge (hundreds of pounds) for priests, seminarians and bishops, came up to me and presented me with a statue. No, it was not an Oscar. Instead, Kathy told me it was a “Jeromee” (a nickname of affection given to me by my mother). This figure had a picture of me attached to the statue. I now don’t have to wait by the phone for a Hollywood call.
It’s obvious that the real star of the night was the Blessed Mother. She commanded the attention of a crowd of 1,400 at the Milwaukee Theatre on a Thursday evening. At the end of the film, the audience responded with a standing ovation. It’s well worth the 80 minutes to hear and see how powerful a weapon the Rosary is in the hands of believers.
Dick and Terry Boldin will be taking the film on the road, promoting the Rosary nationwide, and encouraging people to always LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the April 17, 2018 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.