By Michael Rizzo
A film focused on one man’s journey to find his faith was the feature presentation on Nov. 17 at the fourth Family Night at the Movies for Queens Deanery 5.
About 200 people came to the auditorium at the Immaculate Conception Center (ICC) in Douglaston for a showing of “The Case for Christ,” a movie based on the real-life story of Lee Strobel who converted from atheism to Christianity.
“I hope that their faith is deepened,” Father Mark Matthias said before the event about those attending. Father Matthias is the parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Bayside, one of 10 parishes in northeast Queens that make up the deanery. He felt the movie could lead people to see the reality of Christ’s existence but it also shows how the journey there may not be an easy one.
“Christ said he came to divide people but he also brings them together,” he said about the main characters in the film. “The movie shows the power of Christ through love and faith to become the cornerstone of their lives.”
The Case for Christ tells how Strobel tried to disprove the resurrection of Jesus. He wants to show his wife that her new-found faith is faulty. It strains their relationship but after he gathers facts from experts, he comes to believe in God, the historical Jesus and the events of Easter Sunday.
Father Kevin McBrien, dean of Queens Deanery 5 and pastor of Our Lady of the Snows, North Floral Park, said he wanted to show the film after he couldn’t find a theater in Brooklyn or Queens that had it on its marquee.
The presentation at ICC was free to attendees though free-will offerings were accepted. Members of the Knights of Columbus Council from St. Anastasia’s parish, Douglaston, also manned a concession stand with proceeds going towards the auditorium’s rental.
Father McBrien said attendance was almost double that of the deanery’s February movie night that showed “Heaven is For Real.”
Joan Geiger of Our Lady of the Snows had not seen “The Case for Christ” and was interested in seeing Strobel’s conversion toward faith.
“We live in a society that can be faithless,” she said. “I’m a faith-filled person and I’m hoping the movie will deepen my faith.”
“I want to know more about Jesus,” said Julie Muniz of Sacred Heart parish, Bayside, about why she came to the showing with her sister Shelly who lives nearby in St. Robert Bellarmine parish.
Deacon Ernesto Avallone of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament said he was intrigued by the movie’s topic.
“The best evangelization is in having an atheist come of the conclusion that God exists,” he said. “It’s a sign of God working his grace to help others to believe.”