As the days grow shorter and humanity settles in for a fall and winter amid a pandemic, good films can help the spirit grow. Here are Catholic Sentinel staff picks for this season.

‘Pope Francis: A man of his word’

2018, PG, Amazon Prime


Amazon Prime has several documentaries about Pope Francis right now: “Francis — A pope for everyone,” “The Francis effect,” “Francis: The pope from the New World,” and “Pope Francis: A man of his word.”

They’re all worthy of a viewer’s time, but the last, named “Pope Francis: A man of his word,” has been the most critically noted and inspirational, offering intimate-feeling insights into our pope’s thinking.

Pope Francis, in much of the film, speaks directly to the viewer. He’s affectionate, good humored (sharing at the end that he prays St. Thomas More’s prayer for good humor every day), and solid.

Viewers follow him to a Roman prison, an African hospital, a Greek refugee camp, the U.S. Congress (as he addresses a joint session) and a storm-devastated Philippines. He gently touches the heads of the suffering and he insists to the powerful that the more our actions have an impact on other people the more we are called to be humble.

One of my favorite scenes is a set of excerpts from the 2015 light show that transformed the walls of St. Peter’s Basilica into a living canvas of nature and humanity.