Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Trials of Saint Patrick (Augustine Institute)

Radio dramas is a forgotten form of entertainment in today's age. One of the most famous ones ever was Orson Welles' The War of the Worlds, which had people truly believing that aliens had landed and were going to wipe us off the face of the earth. The BBC has made some good ones in recent times with my favorite one being The Chronicles of Narnia. Last year, Augustine Institute has utilized this medium with their Augustine Institute Radio Theatre. Their first program, which debuted last year was Brother Francis: The Barefoot Saint of Assisi. This year they released The Trials of Saint Patrick. Both are available for $30 a piece. The Trials of Saint Patrick is a 4 CD/8 part radio drama with actor John Rhys-Davies leading the billing. The episodes are as follows:

1. Abduction - Older Patrick is before a tribunal and recounts his teens where he became a slave
2. The Way Out - Patrick escapes after having been a slave for six years
3. Home - Patrick is reunited with his family
4. Preparations - Patrick studies in France and meets Tertius
5. Old Masters - Patrick begins his mission in Hibernia, but meets great resistance
6. King of Kings - Patrick displays a miracle of fire to King Laoghaire, so that he may continue preaching
7. Blood Crescent - Patrick takes on the pagans and their gods, and experiences a dark time in his life
8. Coroticus - The tribunal comes to a close, but not before Patrick is attacked for his past by someone who should be his friend

Included with the four CDs is a small discussion guide, which has several questions for each episode that are great for personal reflection or small groups. These questions reflect on Patrick's life by looking at it through the lenses of Scripture and the Catechism. Using these two pillars, we are asked to look at his life and compare it to ours. How do we respond to suffering? How can we better participate in God's plans for our life? How we can share the message of God with others?

The program was captivating to listen to, and I really appreciate that they got native-born United Kingdom actors to perform these roles. This added a level of authenticity to the program that would have been lacking if they just used American born actors. What I disliked about the program was the music. It was a bit louder at times than the spoken parts, so I felt I had to turn down the program when the music was on and turn it back up when the speaking occurred. As for the packaging, it is very beautiful, but I felt the size was unnecessary and unwieldy as it was twice the height of a normal CD. This might make it a little difficult to stock on shelves in physical stores. The sleeve was also a bit unneeded. Those quibbles aside, I think it's an excellent program that should be listened to by all Catholics. All most people know about St. Patrick is the shamrock (not mentioned in this program), that he drove all the snakes from Ireland, and that his feast day is March 17th. This program teaches you so much more about the man and saint. I highly recommend it.

This CD set was provided to me by Carmel Communications in exchange for an honest review.