The Spiritans of Houston

The opportunity of being able to tell the story of the
 Spiritan’s work in Houston was a request of the Spiritan
 house in Houston. This trip was well planned thanks to
 everyone at the Houston location.

Fr. Michael Begley

Fr. Michael Begley

That pre-planning made the work of the video team very
 smooth and efficient. Father Michael Begley and Mr. Ray 
Sylvester have done a great job preparing the ground for us.
 We had asked them to be our “Field Managers” as a filming
 team needs a field manager who would contact the people to
 be interviewed beforehand and be able to schedule things on 
field and follow up the way things go when the team is
 operating, Both Michael and Ray shared the task between
 the two of them and made everything smooth for us.
 In advance of our visit we prepared interview scripts for 
interviews. Having been supplied with background on each 
person we were to interview was so helpful in planning.

THE LIGHTS OF HOUSTON

THE LIGHTS OF HOUSTON

On Feb 27th 2014, our little team of 3 Duquesne University 
persons, myself, Ms Julia
 Belechak, a Duquesne University Journalism student and Jean-Michel Gelmetti
 from the Spiritan office of Mission Identity were heading to Houston TX, to
 meet with the Spiritans there on the invitation of Fr.
 Michael Begley and Mr. Ray Sylvester who are responsible
 for the SOMA (Spiritan Office of Mission Advancement).
In order for our trip to go smoothly in Houston, we talked 
about what to expect during the visit. Not knowing what is
 going to happen makes people more anxious and nervous  
about being on camera. Just knowing what the plan is will
 set people at ease and that is exactly what the Spiritans of
 Houston did for us.

The Spiritan House

The Spiritan House

When we arrived, the 1700 West Alabama Street, this was really
 our home and we could work in there, and also from there. All  were very welcoming and we have 
been able to work according to the schedule that Michael and
 Ray, as field managers, had diligently planed for us.
 During our correspondence with Michael, we had in mind
 that Fr. Don Nesti had told us that there was a lady who was a student of his and worked at the NASA and could
 organize for us to visit  the NASA complex.

Neutral Buoyancy Lab

Neutral Buoyancy Lab

Now in Houston we met her the first day of work, she is Mrs. 
Glenda Brown, and  works in NASA as an engineer in
 mission control and the Neutral Buoyancy training facility.
 We had felt it would be useful to speak of NASA in order to
present the town of Houston with NASA as a
 backdrop.
 In Houston we had a “team” plan so we were ready to go
 right after breakfast at the Spiritan house, our home away
 from home for this project. Our hosts made us feel welcome,
 as in the Spiritan Spirit. The peanut butter is on the shelf, orange juice in the refrigerator and if we needed something,
 all we had to do was ask.

St. Pauls, the church of the Astronauts

St. Pauls, the church of the Astronauts

On our first full day in Houston we toured the astronaut’s
 Chapel at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic and had the
 opportunity to interview astronaut Nicole Marie Passonno
 Stott, who spoke about her work and her Catholic faith!
 Part of the experience that this offered the student, was the
 chance to work in the field on a project that took her out of 
the classroom. I enjoy working with a
 student journalist/reporter on projects and have
 successfully enabled them to have the experience that
 prepares them for working in this business.

Nicole Stott

Nicole Stott

When we are
 on the way to our first story opportunity I am working with
 them to come up with a game plan. I figure out how much
 time we have to actually gather the elements we need for
 each story. Our trip to Houston was nothing short of eye opening. Julia
 Belechak had little experience working with the Spiritans,
 her time spent in Houston opened her eyes to just how
 amazing the congregation truly is.
 “From the moment I arrived in Houston, I was nothing
 short of impressed with what I was learning about the
 Spiritans. Whether a Spiritan priest was celebrating mass
 or completing work behind a desk at one of the university in
 the Houston area, I was constantly learning more and more 
about what it meant to be a Spiritan.”
We had the opportunity to visit sights of interest in Houston
 with Ray Sylvester who drove us. Ray is a Volunteer for
International Development and a Coordinator with SOMA,
 the Spiritan Office for Mission Advancement.

Fr. Michael Grey

Fr. Michael Grey

We visited St. Mary Seminary with meeting and interview
 with Fr. Michael Grey. We also interviewed Fr. Michael Begley
 and Ray Sylvester about the job at the Spiritan Office for
 Mission Advancement.
 With Ray Sylvester, Fr. Michael Begley and Joseph N’Guyen for
 chauffeurs, we visited St Benedict the Abbott Parish and 
interviewed Fr. Huy Dinh, the pastor and the associate
 pastor, Deacon Thang Dinh Hoang. Fr. Andy Do, CSSp, was
 also celebrating mass and had to be off to celebrate at 
another location so we missed an interview with him.

St. Benedict the Moore Parish

St. Benedict the Moore Parish

The
 rest of the afternoon was dedicated to the visit of the 
Newman Center at the University of Houston where Fr. Joe
N’Guyen, CSSp, is the catholic Chaplain. There too, we could 
interview and take pictures of some of the staff and students
 and film and participate to the evening mass at 6:00 pm with 
the students.

 

Fr. Nesti

Fr. Nesti

 

At the University of Saint-Thomas, our interviews began
 with Fr. Don Nesti, some of his staff, collaborators and
 students at the Center for Faith and Culture.

20140303-archboshop-9We also had 
the opportunity to interview the seventh Bishop and Retired
 Galveston-Houston Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza. On our last day in Houston we were able to interview a
 Donor to the Spiritan Office of Mission Advancement, Bruce
 Wilkinson and also Ray Sylvester.20140228-nasa-191
 When we are on location, Fr. Jean-Michel Gelmetti’s role
 within the team is a dual one in that he is taking photographs 
(and sometimes filming), but also providing insights and
 clarifications from a Spiritan perspective.
 While I was the one doing the primary filming, it is important to have
access to alternative angles and still photographs, which is
 where Fr. Gelmetti’s technical role comes in.
 “I have discovered that the role of Julia as a on location
 journalist is a very useful and essential role in a filming 
team in that it brings to life the context and the content of
 what people are able to discuss,” said Fr. Gelmetti. “A real 
step towards professional results necessary to attract the
  attention of people on our Spiritan work!

Julia on location at NASA

Julia on location at NASA

This experience also had an effect on Julia. “From what I 
have observed, being a Spiritan is not just simply belonging
 to a congregation of priests. It is about devoting life to not 
only God and the Church, but to making the sacrifice of
helping the poorest of poor in the most impoverished areas
 around the world, throwing ones own needs, wants, and
culture out the door. ”
Thanks for all we have been able to do in Houston.”

The Spiritan House

The Spiritan House

Most people don’t have any idea of what 
happens after the filming is done and everyone has
 returned to their regular schedules. For the editor, director
 and creative team, the work now begins on a less than
 glamorous side of documentary production. Guided by the
 Spirit, we will be able to tell the story of the Spiritans in
 Houston.”

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