Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Brother Francis: The Mass and The Saints (Herald Entertainment)

Today, is a two-for-one review day at Stuart's Study. This one is for the kids and isn't books, but DVDs. I am blessed by Herald Entertainment to review the latest two episodes in their Brother Francis series entitled The Mass and The Saints. These are episodes Six and Eight respectively. Other topics in this wonderful series include Prayer, Eucharist, Rosary, Confession, Baptism, and Christmas. It looks like the next one out will be called "Following in His Footsteps," which I imagine talks about being a disciple of Christ. I'm really hoping they make some for the rest of the Sacraments and Easter as well. But that's a different conversation. So without further ado, it's on to the reviews!

The Mass begins with Brother Francis vigorously ringing the Church bells and explaining that they are used to call people to Church. He then explains how the Mass is like a holiday or celebration and one that you can attend every day. Unfortunately, some of us (myself included) sometimes forget how special the Mass is and take for granted how lucky we are to be able to attend it so freely. He also tells us that "The Mass is not just about a ceremony and a celebration. The Mass is about Someone."

He then compares Jesus to a hero, for giving up Heaven and coming down here to die for us and our sins. We are then walked through the Mass from entering the door and crossing ourselves with Holy Water to the priest's Dismissal at the end, and reminding people to stay until the priest leaves, not sneaking out after Holy Communion. I particularly like that they included the Parable of the Tax Collector and the Pharisee in this DVD when explaining the Penitential Rite. This has always been one of my favorite parables, and is an excellent reminder that only in humility can we find true forgiveness. This is the perfect DVD for teaching your children or school children (8 and under) what happens at Mass, each part of Mass, and how to be respectful during Mass. 5 stars!

The Saints begins with Brother Francis teaching himself to roller-blade and falling down a lot. He asks the children to remember when they were learning to do something like how to ride a bike, swim, or read. I have to admit I wasn't sure where this was going at first, but once he said, "We all do better when we have encouragement and when we have someone to learn from," it clicked! We're going to talk about how the Saints are they to encourage us and serve as examples who have been there before us.

Before he starts talking about the Saints, he shows secular examples that adults and children look up to, such as musicians and athletes. Then, we dive into the Saints! Brother Francis explains that the Saints are like our family, even if we don't have a family. We see examples of children using the Saints in times of discouragement, but what I found fascinating was that we also see Mother Teresa (a future saint) also turned to the Saints, specifically St. Therese of Lisieux. One saint in particular receives special attention in this episode and that is John Bosco. Your children will learn a lot from this little boy, who grew up to become a great saint and led many people to Jesus. Also of great educational value is a step-by-step explanation on how people become Saints.

Both of these DVDs were as high quality as the previous six in the series. Whenever anyone asks me for good Catholic programs that their children can watch and will enjoy, Brother Francis are always the first two words out of my mouth. What's also great about this series is that it is more than DVDs. They have dozens of coloring books that correspond with the DVDs or focus on a particular saint. There are also kid-friendly Holy Cards modeled in the same style as the graphical style as the DVDs. Last, but not least, they have introduced a matching game that your young kids will both enjoy and learn a lot from!

These DVDs were provided to me for free by Herald Entertainment in exchange for an honest review!