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Jesus meets His Sorrowful Most Mother on the way to Calvary. Protestants see the "Passion of Christ" film as a great evangelistic tool...

"You must meditate more on the Passion.  Why, My children?  Because you, too, as followers of Mine, shall go through your passion upon earth....  Time shall bear out this message." - Jesus, November 1, 1977

For years it was an article of faith for many Christians that the most powerful vehicle for bringing nonbelievers to Jesus was a Billy Graham crusade.  Now, they expect it will be a Mel Gibson movie.  Three weeks before the release of "The Passion of the Christ," a graphic portrayal of the torture and crucifixion of Jesus, Christians nationwide are busy preparing to use it in an immense grass-roots evangelistic campaign.  Mr. Gibson, who produced, directed and largely financed the film, has tried to stoke their enthusiasm by screening it the past two months for at least 10,000 pastors and leaders of Christian ministries and media. Many emerged proclaiming it a searing, life-changing experience.

Now those leaders are buying blocks of tickets, encouraging church members to invite their "unsaved" friends and co-workers and producing television commercials that start with scenes from the movie and finish with a pitch for their churches.  "I don't know of anything since the Billy Graham crusades that has had the potential of touching so many lives," said Morris H. Chapman, president of the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination. "It's like the Lord somehow laid in our lap something that could be a great catalyst for spiritual awakening in this nation."

The movie opens on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25, and Christian groups are already distributing merchandise to capitalize on the moment. There are lapel pins in Aramaic, the language of much of the film, and "witnessing cards" to give those who ask about the pin; door hangers for the neighbors; one million tracts asking moviegoers to "Take a moment right now and say a prayer like this," and a CD-ROM for teenagers that features a downloadable picture of a nine-inch nail like those that pinned Jesus to the cross.Jesus on the way to Calvary.

Although Mr. Gibson is Roman Catholic and the movie is replete with Catholic touches, like the Stations of the Cross and the centrality of Mary, influential Pentecostal and evangelical leaders have embraced it anyway, seeing its value as a tool in evangelism. Evangelical Christians account for 30 percent to 40 percent of the American population, and many of them have recently been hearing their leaders declare that the nation is primed for a return of the ecstatic Great Awakenings that moved Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries to convert to Christianity in droves.

Mr. Gibson's film company has hired several marketing firms experienced in reaching Christian audiences, including the publicist for the Rev. Billy Graham. But much of the promotion was initiated by an assortment of ministry agencies, churches and individual Christians.  One of these, the American Tract Society in Garland, Tex., proclaims on its Web site that the movie is "one of the greatest opportunities for evangelism in 2,000 years." Daniel Southern, the society's president, said his group had produced two tracts tied into the movie, and expected one to sell over one million copies. The only involvement of Mr. Gibson's company, Mr. Southern said, was in granting permission to use a movie photograph on the cover.

"This is an unprecedented opportunity that the average Christian needs to seize," Mr. Southern said. "You'll run into people at work who've seen the movie, and you can say, `Have you ever thought about why Christ had to die?' And then you can say: `This tract has one take on that and I'd like to share it with you.' And you hand them the tract."

Teen Mania, an evangelical group that holds youth crusades in stadiums, says at least 3,000 leaders of church youth groups have bought CD-ROM kits that instruct young people in how to use the film to deepen their own faith and bring their friends to accept Christ.  The film is rated R because of the violent scourging and crucifixion of Jesus that occupies much of its two hours. Ron Luce, president of Teen Mania, says children would benefit from seeing it, and the CD-ROM supplies information to persuade parents to allow their children to attend.

"This isn't just violence for violence's sake," Mr. Luce said. "This is what really happened, what it would have been like to have been there in person to see Jesus crucified."Mel Gibson

Mr. Gibson invested $25 million of his own into the movie and has told supporters that he regards it as a spiritual calling. He has suggested that he is aware of the film's potential use in evangelism. In a promotional brochure for the movie given to 4,500 participants at a recent "Global Pastors Network" conference in Orlando, Fla., Mr. Gibson says, "I hope the film has the power to evangelize." He has told screeners in churches that on the movie set, he witnessed agnostics and Muslims converting to Christianity.

A spokesman for Mr. Gibson, Alan Nierob, explained the outreach efforts as more in the interest of marketing than evangelism. He said that although "The Passion of the Christ" was being released on about 2,000 screens by Newmarket Films, it did not have a large marketing budget to pay for focus groups and advertising.

"We don't have that luxury here," Mr. Nierob said. "So you've got to do what you can to get the film out there, get supporters, get word of mouth. That's really the grass-roots approach." Mr. Nierob likened it to the word-of-mouth and Internet buzz that turned "The Blair Witch Project" into a sleeper hit.

Mr. Gibson's company held early screenings of the film in churches led by pastors renowned in Christian circles for pioneering evangelization techniques. They include the Rev. Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill.; Bishop Eddie L. Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta; and the Rev. Rick Warren at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., author of the best seller "The Purpose-Driven Life."

Mr. Hybels was host to 4,500 viewers at a screening in his church last month, and said in an interview that he had invited a "sample group" of a dozen "nonchurchgoing community leaders and businessmen" to gauge their reaction. He said all 12 reported that the film "piqued their curiosity" about Jesus and caused some to go home and dig out Bibles they had not read for years.

Although the film has been praised by some Roman Catholics and promoted on some Catholic Web sites, Catholic clergy members and bishops have not latched onto it as a tool for church-building as the evangelicals have.

Christian leaders predict that the film will have a long afterlife on tape and DVD for use in homes, churches and Bible study classes. Some cautioned that the film's graphic brutality would limit its usefulness with youngsters and in some cultures.  But others said that missionaries would eventually adopt it as a conversion tool much like "Jesus," a 1970's film distributed by the group Campus Crusade for Christ. That film has been translated into more than 800 languages and shown in hundreds of countries.

Pope John Paul II saw the movie the weekend before last, in the Vatican, apparently in his private rooms, on a television, with a DVD, and accompanied by his closest friend, Msgr. Stanislaw Dziwisz. Afterwards and with an eloquent economy John Paul shared with Msgr. Dziwisz his verdict. Dziwisz, the following Monday, shared John Paul's five-word response with the co-producer of The Passion, Steve McEveety.

This is what the Pope John Paul II said: "It is as it was."

Perhaps no one person aside from Mel Gibson himself has made a more noteworthy effort to promote "The Passion of The Christ" than a Texas couple who purchased 6,000 tickets to the film and gave them away to the community.

The Hollywood star's Icon Productions has announced plans, along with distributor Newmarket Films, to release his controversial movie about the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ on 2,000 screens in theaters nationwide on February 25, Ash Wednesday.

US evangelist Graham, 85, defended the film. He said he was "moved to tears" after a private screening with Gibson.  "I have often wondered what it must have been like to be a bystander during those last hours before Jesus' death," Graham said.  "After watching 'The Passion of the Christ,' I feel as if I have actually been there. I was moved to tears.  I doubt if there has ever been a more graphic and moving presentation of Jesus' death and resurrection Ė which Christians believe are the most important events in human history."

Editors comments:
Jesus died for every soul on earth.  Every soul on earth must see this film.  Let us work to make this the most watched movie ever.  Let us work to make it break all attendance records.  Encourage every one you meet to see the Passion of Christ film.

Our Lady of the Roses awesome Bayside Prophecies... http://www.tldm.org/../Bayside/  These prophecies came from Jesus, Mary, and the saints to Veronica Lueken at Bayside, NY, from 1968 to 1995.

I live anew My Passion and My suffering...
"As I look upon your world, I live anew My Passion and My suffering. I look upon your world and I am forced to say: Has My Sacrifice been in vain? Always in the past the Father has sent upon your world a just punishment. The Father has created and the Father will take away! From your world, many souls will be removed!" - Jesus, March 29, 1975

Did My Son give Himself in sacrifice for nothing?
"My child, I am truly the Mother of great sorrow. As I cast My eyes about your world, I see much taking place that is repeating the time of My Son and His great Sacrifice.
   "I cry bitter tears, for I can only ask, My children, why have you allowed satan to take you on your present path?  Did My Son give Himself in sacrifice for nothing? Have you forgotten your purpose for living upon earth?" - Our Lady of the Roses, March 22, 1975

Basket weave cap...
Veronica
- And now He's tapping His forehead. Oh, He wants me to tell you, as He told me this afternoon, that I must tell the world that when He was crucified ... they have a false notion about His crown of thorns.
     The crown of thorns were placed in a basket weave cap and then placed on His head, and He was pummeled and hammered with sticks and a sledge hammer to get it down on His head; and that drove the terrible spikes of the thorns into His head. It seems that His murderers could not find gloves at the time to handle the thorns. So they thought to take their implements and place these terrible thorn weeds inside of the basket weave hat. And that is what Jesus wore when He was crucified. - September 27, 1986

The Agony in the Garden...
I saw Jesus on His knees, bent over in anguish, praying.... There was a great sadness in His face, great sorrow. He was talking to His Father in Heaven: "Father, I will drink of this cup, down to the last dreg, if it be Your will. It is not I that should seek that this cup be removed from Me. My strength is everlasting in the light, and My heart a bleeding vessel for this cup." -Veronica, March 8, 1971

Directives from Heaven... http://www.tldm.org/directives/directives.htm

D7 - Pope John Paul II  PDF Logo PDF
D66 - The Passion of Christ (Part 1)
D67 - The Passion of Christ (Part 2)

ArticlesÖ

St. Alphonsus Liguori's The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ reading #1
http://www.tldm.org/lent/liguori1.htm

St. Alphonsus Liguori's The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ reading #2
http://www.tldm.org/lent/liguori2.htm

Links...

The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ are the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich   http://www.liferesearchuniversal.com/passionmenu.html#christ

Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich  (1774-1824) Mystic, Stigmatist, Visionary, and Prophet http://www.emmerich1.com/VenerableEmmerich.htm 

The Passion of Christ Movie by Mel Gibson
 
http://www.passion-movie.com/home.html

"It is as it was"  http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110004442

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