Seal Beach Massacre Grievers Find Solace in The Way

AFI Fest was not the only film action in town this weekend. Per an inspiring write-up in the National Catholic Reporter, there was also a memorable screening of the new Emilio EstevezMartin Sheen drama The Way on Saturday atop the Chalon campus of Mount St. Mary’s College.

As Sister Rose Pacatte reports, a number of celebrities were among the 350-person audience. There was also this amazing post-screening Q&A tidbit, offered up by Reverend Scott Young, executive director of UCLA’s University Religious Conference:

Young shared that the day before, he had been at a restaurant in Seal Beach near a beauty salon where in October a gunman opened fire, killing eight people. Young began chatting with some ladies who were dining at the next table and found that they were close friends of the stylists who were killed.

They told Young that shortly after this tragedy, they decided to go to the movies, to just do something, but there was nothing playing that appealed to them — except The Way. “It was healing for us, just what we needed to deal with the loss of their friends,” they said.

Pacatte, director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies, writes that this story really got to Sheen. And how could it not? Although real life easily trumps the importance of movies, sometimes the latter can provide a peaceful, welcome sanctuary when such a respite is needed most. Saturday’s special screening was co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Catholics in Media Associates.