New archdiocesan podcast 'Cinema Verbi' hosts faith-based discussions on modern film

Frs. Matt Hood and Brian Meldrum, fellow priests and movie buffs, cohost monthly podcast

DETROIT – Archdiocesan priests and film buffs Frs. Brian Meldrum and Matt Hood invite listeners to tune in once a month to their new podcast, "Cinema Verbi," where they will discuss new movie releases and unpack the beauty and Gospel truth that can be found within film.

“Cinema Verbi” – a play on the words of St Justin the Martyr, Semina Verbi, meaning “seeds of the word” – debuts Tuesday, June 18, produced in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Department of Communications.

Fr. Meldrum, an Old Testament professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, where he also serves as director of liturgy and pastoral formation, and Fr. Hood, director of Detroit Catholic campus ministries, have been good friends since seminary and have spent their weekly day off going to the movies together for the past several years.

The two priests routinely engage in thoughtful conversation about the movies on the car ride home from the movie theater. Now, with the launch of their podcast, listeners will be able to tune into these conversations as they find the good, the beauty and the truth in film.

“We have a great love for going to the movies, and we are excited to invite people into that,” Fr. Hood told Detroit Catholic. “Part of wanting to have the podcast is that different movies help to reflect where people are at, what their values are, and what they are striving for.”

While part of evangelization involves calling out that which is wrong and pulls us away from God, Fr. Hood said that the two priests seek to draw attention to the way modern films affirm the goodness and truth of God, whether they intended to or not.

"The idea of the ‘seeds of the word’ is to affirm that which is good, what we are longing for, what are the desires and the motivations of our culture, and how can we understand within that the deeper desires of the human heart,” Fr. Hood explained.

The podcast will offer listeners a fresh way to look at the Gospel, Fr. Meldrum said

“It can be beneficial for people’s faith life and draw them into looking at another way the Gospel is portrayed and even sometimes how it is not in modern films,” Fr. Meldrum said.

Episodes will be released once a month, and the priests will mostly focus on newer releases, although they both hope to discuss classics and personal favorites in the future. Following an introductory episode, the first two discussions will feature topics and themes of Dennis Villeneuve's two-part Dune, including the search for a Messiah figure.

“Cinema Verbi” is a play on the words of St Justin the Martyr, Semina Verbi, meaning “seeds of the word."
“Cinema Verbi” is a play on the words of St Justin the Martyr, Semina Verbi, meaning “seeds of the word."

Fr. Meldrum added that sometimes they disagree about a movie's merits, but this enriches their discussions.

For future episodes, the priests want to examine some of their favorites, such as the 1997 Italian film Life is Beautiful or their agreed-upon favorites from 2023, The Holdovers, starring Paul Giamatti and Dominic Sessa.

The Holdovers, set in the early 1970s, tells the story of members of a New England prep school who remain on campus during Christmas break. Fr. Meldrum said that among one of the many reasons he loved the film is that it reminded him a bit of seminary.

“It reminded me of seminary because of the whole boarding school aspect of it and the unlikely friendship that forms between the professor and the student, and the idea of community being formed in unlikely places,” Fr. Meldrum explained. “All of those characters are wounded and have experienced loss in their life, and they find that they are not alone in a situation that they would rather not be in. They find some beauty in the community and just learn other people’s stories and learn what other people are going through that you don’t always see on the surface, so those ones spark some good discussion.”

Fr. Meldrum added that the weekly trips to the movie theater have served as a welcome opportunity to do something different and to have good discussions and fellowship with a fellow priest and friend. Now, they can share this new, exciting way to see the faith depicted with a wider audience.

“It’s been fun to have these great conversations about how faith is depicted and about how it is the focal point of our life and you get to see it in a different way and a different art form,” Fr. Meldrum said. “It’s good to be able to do something both fun and faith-based in our ministry.”

Subscribe today on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Google Podcasts.



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