By Stephen Fasulo II
On Thursday, September 10th the documentary film produced by Journey Films, “CHAPLAINS,” premiered in the Great Room of the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center.
The film, helmed by Martin Doblmeier, is about the lives of chaplains and the lives they positively affect through their profession.
A chaplain is a member of a religion that is attached to a non-religious organization. The film was shortened half its length at the event to allow a question and answer period from the Army Chief of Chaplains, Father Paul Hurley, who has served for twenty years, most recently in Afghanistan.
The film describes the daily interactions between chaplains and people serving prison sentences, police officers, military servicemen and women, and families of children in hospitals. Doblmeier, preemptively answered the question among many minds, and told audiences he decided on the subject matter because he found the subject fascinating. Doblmeier was pleased with the reception of the film at the event.
“Something that caught me off guard was the expanse and depth of what they do, despite the way culture has put religion under fire,” said Doblmeier. The trials of what these chaplains undergo is thoroughly explored in the film, and the chaplains featured provide religious counsel to soldiers, prisoners, and grieving families, but also help recreate lives and bridge social gaps in cultures.
“I did this film to inspire others to serve as chaplains,” said Father Paul Hurley. “This film is revealing to people like me, who do this every day, but seeing the results, you realize how important it really is.”
The number of military chaplains has been cut in half from 400 to 220 in the last 14 years.
“Part of the reason the numbers have decreased is that we’ve hit the demographic curve, a large amount of military chaplains were born in the peak of the baby boom, and now most of them have just reached the age limit of the military,” said Vocations Director of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, Father Aidan Logan.
“Documentaries can sometimes have problems getting out there, so publicity is key,” said Jen Quintana, the Production Manager for Journey Films.
According to the filmmakers, there is a large amount of events showing the film in the future.
“If I was called back to Boston tomorrow, I would be thankful for working with so many other chaplains of other faiths, as it has bolstered my own faith,” said Hurley.
The message that the crew and the subjects of the film wanted to convey was the necessity for an underappreciated profession, and that there is a place for a religious movie in today’s culture.