WHAT TO SEE: Restored faith, restoring wholeness
Restored: Stories of Encounter
Connie McEldowney, Deacon Pablo Perez, Fr. Bob Lombardo, Alan Graham, Sharon Mason, Jordan and Jessie Schiele
Run time: Six episodes, approx. 22-26 min each
Produced by ODB Films and St. Joseph Communications. storiesofencounter.com
When people used to write Mother Teresa of their desire to join in her work among the destitute of India, she would often respond: “Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta.”
Her point, of course, was that one need not travel halfway around the globe to seek out the needy and accomplish “something wonderful for God,” as another of her catchphrases went. There is plenty to do among the poor much closer to home, even in local communities.
Restored: Stories of Encounter is a six-part documentary series about individuals who are doing just that. They have recognized the unmet needs of others and have dedicated their lives to doing something about it by demonstrating the love of Christ to the least among us.
And the series title, Restored, applies on two levels: these individuals have experienced crises of doubt and poor choices in their lives, only later to rediscover their Catholic faith, which helped inspire them to an outreach seeking to restore hope and dignity to persons in need.
The series introduces us to folks like Deacon Pablo Perez, who grew up in the streets of Chicago and dabbled in gangs before turning his life around. He now dedicates himself to prison ministry, offering hope and reconciliation to incarcerated men. There’s Connie McEldowney of Dayton, Ohio, a revert to the Catholic faith who provides care for dozens of young single mothers and their children. Among others we meet is Alan Graham, a successful businessman who built a 27-acre village of new houses for the homeless and operates the largest prepared meal ministry in Austin, Texas.
Each of these six stories is inspiring in its own right, and each raises provocative questions. If these generous and caring souls were not providing these services, what would happen to the people who benefit?
GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.