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Having John Paul II over for Christmas…

December 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Resources, Videos

As you know, Blessed John Paul II will soon be St. John Paul II. So if you're one of his fans, so to speak, or if you know someone who is, here's an idea for a Christmas gift. Soon after John Paul II's beatification, CCC of America released a special edition of a 4-DVD set on the papacy of John Paul II. Originally produced by renowned Italian journalist Alberto Michelini, this English language edition includes ten, 30-minute documentaries with live video and audio footage from the late pope’s life. Each of the ten volumes is dedicated to a specific theme: JPII and children, JPII and young people, JPII and the family, JPII and the Blessed Virgin Mary, etc…

The collection was produced by a journalist, so it’s fresh and lively. But the journalist has a deep Catholic faith, and he understood not only John Paul II’s charismatic appeal, but also the depth of his love for Christ and the power of his contribution to Catholic history and teaching. And that’s what comes across most in these videos. Each one is almost a meditation. Inspiring images of the pope’s travels combined with ample excerpts from his own discourses to make for a documentary that captures the imagination, touches the heart, and stimulates the mind.

For those of us who followed John Paul II when he was still with us here on earth, these DVDs are like a family photo album. Watching them brings back memories and stirs up a deep appreciation for all that God did in our lives through the exceptional leadership of Blessed John Paul II. They move at a refreshingly relaxed pace, unlike the dizzying and superficial dazzle of so much of today’s news reporting. Since a lot of the footage is from the 80’s and 90’s, it doesn’t have the high definition we are used to in the second decade of the twenty-first century, but the abundance of substance makes up for the dearth of glamour (although I have to admit, there are some truly amazing visual segments!). The ten episodes deeply respect and brilliantly portray the message, the man, and the mission of this servant of the servants of God, and in so doing, they strengthen the viewers own commitment to building Christ’s Kingdom.

So, if you are looking for a stocking stuffer that will last a lot longer than a lollipop or a candy cane, I sincerely recommend John Paul II: The Man, The Pope, The Message. Here's a brief preview:

John Paul II: The Man, The Pope, And His Message – DVD series trailer from Tim Evans on Vimeo.

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About Fr. John Bartunek, LC

Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D, received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. After college, he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. He provided spiritual support on the set of Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" while researching the 2005 Catholic best seller, "Inside the Passion"--the only authorized, behind-the-scene explanation of the film. Fr. John has contributed news commentary regarding religious issues on NBC, CNN, Fox, and the BBC. He also served as the English-language press liaison for the Vatican’s 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. His most widely known book is called: "The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer". His most recent books are "Spring Meditations", "Seeking First the Kingdom: 30 Meditations on How to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength", and "Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions". Fr. John currently splits his time between Michigan (where he continues his writing apostolate and serves as a confessor and spiritual director at the Queen of the Family Retreat Center) and Rome, where he teaches theology at Regina Apostolorum. His online, do-it-yourself retreats are available at, and he answers questions about the spiritual life at

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  • Becky Ward

    I was only nominally Catholic when John Paul II was pope… I don’t have many memories except the big headlines like when he was shot…..but there is something about the man that tugs at my heart every time I see an image of him.

    Thanks for posting this Fr. John, it looks like it might be a good way to travel back in time and learn about the things I missed when they were happening!  🙂

  • jack g.

    Bl. John Paul II was from Cracow where I lived until I was 18 and moved here in 1986, so brings many memories for me. When I was 12 we went to Italy for a long trip from Diocese and we also had a private audience with him, so I have a picture with a saint to be. He also personally blessed me and my family. Then I was yet innocent. After I moved to the US all went wrong with challenges for the whole family and my growing up in a foreign country. I rebelled against God and His church until at 40 years old God showed mercy and reconverted me on the edge of hell. 
    Even during my 20 pagan years I always had a tear in my eye when I saw him or herd him speak. Always marveled at that. Last year at Christmas Eve Mass, I asked our Lady of Chestochowa and His intercession to quit smoking, I left and never had a craving again.
    What can I say, he was a living saint and most people new that. Now when I am on the road to heaven, I realize that we all will be saints one way or another, and so John Paul is/was a living example for us, modern, lost human race. He and many others he canonized and so thanks be to God for such a warrior in John Paul II.
    We are called to sanctity and although it seems and it is a great challenge, we will prevail, because God is with us, here to help us become saints. 
    With Jesus in my heart, jack g.

  • Flynnjmarie

    Love theHoly Father, John Paul. A beautiful messenger to the world.

  • Majododi

    What is the name of the DVD? Where can you get it? Thanks

    • Look in the post – CCC of America link is provided.

  • Christine Ann

    I went to the link you provided and ordered the set of DVD’s.  Pope John Paul II was instrumental in my conversion to the Roman Catholic Church.  I can hardly wait to receive them… also, CCC was delighted to know where I had found out about the DVD’s.  She was aware of you featuring it.  

    God bless…. 

  • Guest

    Yes, Dan. It is great to have this soon-to-be Canonized Saint for Christmas. I shall never forget the electrifying feeling that ran through my  entire body when I greeted this Holy Man with both hands on his last visit to our country Kenya. Blessed Pope John Paul II Our Divine Mercy Holy Father, pray for us.

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