Catholicism Series Creators to Headline Alumni & Family Weekend
Providence, R.I.--Rev. Robert Barron, creator and host of the new documentary series Catholicism, and Mike Leonard ’70, the show’s executive producer, will be the keynote speakers on February 11 during Alumni & Family Weekend at Providence College.
Father Barron, a Chicago-area priest, and Leonard, a correspondent for NBC-TV’s Today show, will discuss their two-year collaboration on Catholicism and answer questions from the audience. Their talk, “Journey to the Heart of the Faith,” will be given at 10:00 a.m. in the Peterson Recreation Center. It is open to the public.
Since the release of Catholicism in September, Father Barron and Leonard have spoken together around the country, but Leonard said the address at PC will mark their first appearance at a college.
Catholicism, a 10-part global documentary illustrating the history of the Catholic Church, was filmed over two years in the Holy Land, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, and the United States. The 1,000th episode recently aired on public television. The series has been shown on EWTN, and parishes have purchased it as a DVD set.
For Leonard, who accompanied Father Barron on most of his travels, it has been a journey of faith as well as miles.
“I got an opportunity to have all these experiences with Father Barron,” said Leonard. “I went to the site of the crucifixion, Jesus’ birthplace, where Paul walked and was jailed, where Peter was crucified. I would wonder. I would think about how revolutionary it all was. It was a gift that I got.”
In the episodes, Leonard can be heard as the off-camera voice pressing Father Barron to further explain Church teachings.
The idea for the documentary was born during discussions in Leonard’s parish in Winnetka, Ill., after Father Barron spoke there. The project was financed completely with private donations.
Leonard’s son, Matt Leonard ’93, who directed the series, also will attend Alumni & Family Weekend. Leonard’s daughters, Megan ’95 and Kerry ’00, now work part time for Father Barron’s media company.
Renowned theologian and scholar
Father Barron is the Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago. He founded Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, a nonprofit media group, and has published books, essays, and DVD programs. He has a master’s degree in philosophy from The Catholic University of America and a doctorate in sacred theology from the Institut Catholique de Paris.
Leonard, who studied economics and played hockey at PC, is a veteran correspondent for the Today show. His family’s company, Picture Show Films, co-produced Father Barron’s documentary series and has produced television shows and specials for PBS and ESPN. He is the author of The Ride of Our Lives: Roadside Lessons of an American Family (Ballantine Books, 2006) and the producer of the public television series of the same title.
The College’s first Alumni & Family Weekend will be held from February 10-12. Combining the features of the former Homecoming Weekend for alumni and the traditional Winter Family Weekend for upperclass students and their families, it will include entertainment, sporting events, a reception marking the 40th anniversary of women in athletics, and the painting of an “interactive” mural.
For more about the Father Barron and Mike Leonard event, visit here.