A FAMILY RETREAT
by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
(DVD, Keep the Faith Inc, 2004, twelve talks, six hours, $29.95.
Available from Freedom Publishing)
Archbishop Fulton J Sheen was of the opinion that if 20th century man had one underlining fault, it was a lack of docility - the ability to be easily taught.
The 12 talks that he gives on this one DVD are a splendid example of his efforts to teach the truthful realities of life to an audience comprising children, adolescents, parents, teachers, priests and religious, displaying all of the unique gifts and knowledge gained from his many experiences as a teacher and priest.
His use of humour to capture attention at the beginning of each talk and then again to reenergise his audience whenever he feels they are flagging is a lesson for all public speakers. I know of many who have watched these talks (previously produced on video film) and memorised the jokes he uses and delight in recalling them.
The topics he covers, such as ‘Three Kinds of Love’, ‘Choice’, ‘Wasting Your Life’, ‘Youth and Sex’ and ‘Old Pots’, are full of helpful suggestions for making life more meaningful and useful. The other subjects he speaks about would have a stronger appeal to a Catholic audience and include ‘The Meaning of the Mass’, ‘The Woman I Love’, ‘Kenosis’, ‘Confession’, ‘The Devil’ and ‘Our Cross’.
The average duration of each talk is 25-30 minutes, for Archbishop Sheen realised this is about the maximum time an audience of this type can concentrate sufficiently well to absorb and retain the salient points he is making.
The production of this DVD is all in colour and the picture quality is a vast improvement on the video format.
Six hours of talks on this modestly priced DVD is marvellous value and makes for essential family viewing.