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Fr. Pablo Migone

is chancellor of the Diocese of Savannah and pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, Port Wentworth and Corpus Christi, Pooler.


Columns

  • Advancing a Cause for Beatification

    By Fr. Migone

    IN THE EARLY MONTHS OF 2015, I TRAVELED TO Rome as Vocation Director of our Diocese along with Bishop Hartmayer for the official annual visit to the now-Father Andrew Larkin who at that time was studying at the North American College in Rome. While in the city, Bishop Hartmayer requested an appointment at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (now called Dicastery for the Causes of Saints) in order to inquire about the status of the Cause for the Beatification of Friar Pedro de Corpa and Companions. The Franciscan Province of the Most Holy Name from New York had finalized the historical research and presented it to the Dicastery almost eight years prior, but this was followed by a long, silent pause.
    We were warmly welcomed by a Bishop who worked at the Dicastery, and he quickly stated that the Cause should have already concluded because most of the work was done. We were quite surprised and pleased with this news. The Bishop put us in contact with Father Giovanni Giuseppe Califano, OFM, the priest in Rome who was the Postulator, the person who advances beatification and canonization causes and serves as an advocate before the Dicastery. Father Califano was pleased to welcome us the next morning. Ever since that initial visit, and through several more in years after, Father Califano became the indispensable link to move the Cause forward.
    Among the many instructions from Father Califano were included the commissioning of a monument and the production of a documentary. Much effort by many was channeled to build a beautiful monument in Darien, Georgia, by the Canadian Catholic sculptor Timothy Schmaltz. The stunning work of art by this internationally-acclaimed artist was dedicated in 2021. Thanks to a grant from the Communications Committee of the U.S. Bishops, Guerilla Productions from Savannah was engaged to produce For the Sake of the Gospel, a thirty-minute documentary that tells the heroic story of Friar Pedro de Corpa and Companions within its historical context. This documentary will serve as an effective tool to raise awareness of the story of the Friars.
    In response to the increased interest in the Cause, and the unwavering commitment from the Diocese of Savannah, Father Califano moved on to write the final document to present to the Dicastery, called a Positio. The same historian who wrote the Positio for the Canonization of Saint Junípero Serra got to work, and the document was submitted to the Dicastery in 2022. In early 2023, we welcomed the good news that the Historical Commission of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints gave the document a unanimous favorable vote. Now we wait for two more committees to review the Cause before Rome grants a final decision as to whether or not these five friars may be considered blessed among the saints.
    Though our hope is that Rome will give a favorable response and that there will be a Beatification in the future in our Diocese, the story of these friars is worth knowing and telling for its own sake. It is an example of the evangelization undertaken by the Church throughout the centuries, as well as the Franciscan ethos of missionaries living close to those entrusted to their care without a military garrison. The story of these men is one of courageous selflessness and heroic virtue. We pray united to God the Father, that the Cause of Friar Pedro de Corpa and Companions may move forward, so that their work and sacrifice may be officially recognized by the Church and their witness be given to the universal Church as a worthy example to follow.

  • Avance de una Causa de Beatificación

    Por Padre Migone

    A INICIOS DEL 2015 VIAJÉ A ROMA COMO PROMOTOR Vocacional de nuestra Diócesis junto con Monseñor Hartmayer para llevar a cabo la visita oficial del seminario donde estudiaba el ahora ordenado Padre Andrew Larkin. Durante su estancia en Roma, Mons. Hartmayer solicitó una cita en la Congregación para las Causas de los Santos (ahora llamada Dicasterio para las Causas de los Santos) para informarse sobre el estado de la Causa de Beatificación de Fray Pedro de Corpa y Compañeros. La Provincia Franciscana del Santísimo Nombre de Nueva York había finalizado la investigación histórica y la había presentado al Dicasterio casi ocho años antes, pero este significativo evento fue seguido por una larga y silenciosa pausa.
    Fuimos recibidos cordialmente por un obispo que trabajaba en el Dicasterio, y rápidamente nos informó que la Causa ya debería haber concluido porque la mayor parte del trabajo estaba finalizado. Quedamos bastante sorprendidos y complacidos con este desarrollo favorable. El Obispo nos puso en contacto con el Padre Giovanni Giuseppe Califano, OFM, el sacerdote en Roma que era el Postulador, la persona que promueve las causas de beatificación y canonización y sirve como representante ante el Dicasterio. El Padre Califano nos recibió la mañana siguiente. Desde esa primera visita y a través de muchas más en los años posteriores, el Padre Califano se convirtió en un contacto indispensable para que la causa avance.
    Entre las muchas instrucciones recibidas del Padre Califano, se incluyó la edificación de un monumento y la producción de un documental. Muchos contribuyeron de diversas formas para construir un hermoso monumento en Darien, Georgia, elaborado por el escultor católico canadiense Timothy Schmaltz. La impresionante obra de arte de Schmaltz, quien es reconocido internacionalmente, fue dedicada en 2021. Gracias a una subvención del Comité de Comunicaciones de los Obispos de los Estados Unidos, Guerrilla Productions de Savannah fue contratada para producir For the Sake of the Gospel, un documental de treinta minutos que narra los eventos de la vida de Fray Pedro de Corpa y Compañeros dentro de su contexto histórico. Este documental servirá como una herramienta eficaz para dar a conocer la historia de los frailes.
    En respuesta al creciente interés en la causa y al compromiso firme de la Diócesis de Savannah para llevarla adelante, el Padre Califano supervisó la redacción del documento final para presentar al Dicasterio, llamado Positio. El mismo historiador que redactó la Positio para la canonización de San Junípero Serra se puso manos a la obra, y el documento fue presentado al Dicasterio en 2022. A principios de 2023, recibimos la buena noticia de que la Comisión Histórica del Dicasterio para las Causas de los Santos dio un voto favorable unánime al documento. Ahora esperamos que dos comités más revisen la Causa antes de que Roma otorgue una decisión final, la cual eventualmente podría confirmar que los frailes son benditos entre los santos.
    Aunque nuestra esperanza es que Roma dé una respuesta favorable, y que haya una beatificación en el futuro en nuestra diócesis, vale la pena conocer y compartir la historia de estos frailes. Ellos son un ejemplo de la evangelización emprendida por la Iglesia a lo largo de los siglos, así como del espíritu franciscano el cual condujo a que misioneros vivieran junto con quienes se les había confiado sin presencia militar. Las vidas de estos frailes son historias de valiente abnegación y virtud heroica. Oremos todos unidos a Dios Padre, para que la Causa de Fray Pedro de Corpa y Compañeros siga adelante, para que su obra y sacrificio sean reconocidos oficialmente por la Iglesia y su testimonio sea otorgado a la Iglesia universal como un ejemplo digno a seguir.

  • Pagsulong ng Layunin Para sa Beatipikasyon

    Ni Padre Migone, Isinalin ni Glenda Castro

    Sa mga unang buwan ng 2015, naglakbay ako sa Roma bilang Direktor ng Bokasyon ng ating Diyosesis kasama si Obispo Hartmayer para sa opisyal na taunang pagbisita kay ngayon ay si Padre Andrew Larkin na noong panahong iyon ay nag-aaral sa Kolehiyo Hilagang Amerikano (North American College) sa Roma. Habang nasa lungsog, si Obispo Hartmayer ay humiling ng tipanan sa Kongregasyon para sa Layunin ng mga Banal ( tinatawag ngayon na Dikasterya Para sa Layunin ng mga Banal ) ( Dicastery for the Causes of Saints) upang magtanong tungkol sa estado ng Layunin para sa Beatipikasyon ni Prayle Pedro de Corpa at mga Kasama. Ang Franciscan Province of the Most Holy Name mula sa New York ay nagtapos ng makasaysayang pananaliksik at iniharap ito sa Dikasterya halos walong taong nakaraan, ngunit ito ay sinundan ng isang mahabang tahimik na paghinto.

    Malugod kaming tinanggap ng isang Obispo na nagtatrabaho sa Dikasterya, at mabilis niyang sinabi na dapat ay natapos na ang Layunin dahil halos lahat ng mga gawain ay tapos na. Nagulat kami at natuwa sa balitang ito. Iniugnay kami ng Obispo kay Padre Giovanni Giuseppe Califano, OFM, ang pari sa Roma na siyang Postulator, ang taong nagsusulong ng beatipikasyon at Kanonisasyon sa layunin at nagsisilbing tagapagtaguyod sa harap ng Dikasterya. Malugod kaming tinanggap ni Padre Califano kinaumagahan. Mula noong unang pagbisita na iyon, at pagkatapos ng paglipas ng ilang taon, si Padre Califano ay naging mahalagang tagapag-ugnay upang maisulong ang Layunin.

    Kabilang sa maraming mga tagubilin mula kay Padre Califano, ay kasama ang pag-atas ng isang monumento at ang paggawa ng isang dokumentaryo. Ang lubos na pagsisikap ng karamihan ay nakatuon sa pagpatayo ng magandang monumento sa Darien, Georgia na gawa ng isang  Katolikong eskultor na tubong Canada na si Timothy Schmaltz. Ang nakamamanghang gawa ng sining ng eskultor na ito na kinikilala sa buong mundo ay inialay noong 2021. Salamat sa kaloob na mula sa Komite ng Komunikasyon ng mga Obispo ng Estados Unidos (Communications Committee of the U.S. Bishops), ang Guerrilla Productions mula sa Savannah ay itinalagang gumawa ng Alang-alang sa Ebanghelyo (For the Sake of the Gospel), isang tatlumpung minutong  dokumentaryo  na nagsasalaysay ng makabayanihang kwento ni Prayle Pedro de Corpa at mga Kasama sa loob ng makasaysayang konteksto nito. Ang dokumentaryo na ito ay magsisilbing isang mabisang paraan upang maipamulat ang kuwento ng mga Prayle.

    Bilang tugon sa tumaas na interes sa Layunin, at ang hindi natitinag na pangako mula sa Diyosesis ng Savannah, si Padre Califano ay nagpasyang isulat ang huling dokumento na ihaharap sa Dikasterya, na tinawag na Positio. Ang parehong mananalaysay na sumulat ng Positio para sa Kanonisasyon ni San Junipero Serra ay nagsimulang magtrabaho, at ang dokumento ay isinumite sa Dikasterya noong 2022. Noong unang bahagi ng 2023, tinanggap namin ang magandang balita na ang Makasaysayang Komisyon ng Dikasterya Para sa Layunin ng mga Banal (Historical Commission of the Dicastery for the Causes of the Saints) ay binigyan ang dokumento ng isang nagkakaisang pabor na boto. Ngayon ay naghihintay tayo sa dalawa pang komite na suriin ang Layunin bago ibigay ng Roma ang pinal na desisyon, kung ang limang Prayle na ito ay maituturing na pinagpala sa mga banal.

    Bagaman ang aming pag-asa ay ang Roma ay magbibigay ng isang kanais-nais na tugon, at na magkakaroon ng beatipikasyon sa hinaharap sa ating Diyosesis, ang kuwento ng mga prayle na ito ay nararapat na malaman at sabihin para sa sarili nitong kapakanan. Ito ay isang halimbawa ng ebanghelisasyon na isinagawa ng Simbahan sa buong siglo, pati na rin ang Franciscan etos ng mga misyonero na naninirahan malapit sa mga ipinagkatiwala sa kanilang pangangalaga na walang garison ng militar. Ang kuwento ng mga lalaking ito ay isang hindi makasariling katapangan at makabayanihang kabutihan. Idinadalangin namin na kaisa sa Diyos Ama, na ang Layunin ni Prayle Pedro de Corpa at mga Kasama ay sumulong, upang ang kaniyang gawain at sakripisyo ay opisyal na kilalanin ng Simbahan at ang kanilang saksi ay maibigay sa pangkalahatang Simbahan bilang isang karapat- dapat na halimbawa na dapat sundin.

  • 시복 시성에 이르는 길

    작성자: 미고네 신부; 번역자 Sungkon Chang, Eunju Jung

    저는 2015년 사바나 교구 성소국에서 신학생과 수도자 지망생을 지원하는 일을 하고 있었습니다. 당시 유학중인 라킨 신부를 만나러 하트마이어 주교님을 모시고 로마에 다녀왔습니다. 로마에 머무르는 동안, 하트마이어 주교님은 조지아 주 순교 수사의 시복 시성을 위해 교황청 시성부에 만남을 요청하셨습니다. (조지아에는 페드로 데 고르바 수사를 포함한 다섯 명의 순교 수사가 있습니다.)  그 때로부터 8년 전에 뉴욕 프란치스칸 수도회가  다섯 수사님에 대한 연구를 끝냈고, 시복 시성 관련 서류를 시성부에 제출하였으나, 아무 응답도 듣지 못하던 차였습니다.

     

    교황청 시성부는 저희를 환대해 주었고, 담당 주교님은 모든 것이 잘 준비되어 있어  결정이 일찍 날거라는 좋은 소식을 전했습니다. 그 다음 날, 칼리파노 신부님을 뵈었는데, 시복 시성을 담당하는 변호사 신부님이셨습니다. 이 만남으로 시복 시성을 위한 첫 걸음은 시작되었습니다.

     

    칼리파노 신부님은 기념비를 설립하고 다큐멘터리를 제작하라고 권유하셨습니다. 조지아 주의 다리엔 지역에 기념비를 세우려고 저명한 캐나다 가톨릭 조각가 슈말츠씨가 초청되었고, 그의 작품이 2021 년에 헌정되었습니다. 미국 주교단의 재정적 도움을 받아 순교 수사의 이야기를 널리 알릴 30분 분량의 다큐멘터리  "복음을 위하여"를  제작하였습니다. 다큐멘타리를 통해 16세기 페드로 데 고르바 수사와 동행했던 수사들의 순교 이야기가 역사적인 시각에서 보여집니다.

     

    사바나 교구의 시복 시성에 대한 높은 관심과 부단한 노력을 보시고, 칼리파노 신부님은 교황청 시성부에 제출할 최종 문서를 작성하도록 지시하셨습니다. 후니프로 세라 성자의 최종 문서를 맡았던 역사학자가 이 작업을 시작했고, 이 문서는 2022년에 제출되었습니다. 2023년에 교황청 시성부 역사 위원회로부터 문서가 아주 만족스러웠다는 반가운 소식을 전해 들었습니다. 이제 사바나 교구는 다섯 명의 수사님을 성인으로 선포할지에 대한 로마의 최종 결정을 기다리고 있습니다.

     

    곧 우리 사바나 교구에서 시복 시성이 있을 것이라고 기대합니다. 다섯 명의 순교 수사 이야기는 모두가 알고 후세에 전해져야 할 가치가 있습니다. 주님과 주님의 교회에 봉사하는 소명을 다하고 복음을 가르치며 전도하는 삶, 신앙을 지키려는 용감하고 헌신적인 모습들은 여러 세기를 거쳐 본 받아야 할 소중한 이야기입니다. 페드로 데 고르바 수사를 포함한 다섯 명의 수사가 모두 복자가 되고 성인이 되는 그 날을 위해 우리 모두 기도합시다. 수사님들의 노고와 희생이 공식적으로 교회에 인정되어 세상 모든 이에게 귀감이 되기를 바랍니다.

  • Tiếp Tục Tiến Hành Việc Phong Chân Phước

    được viết bởi Cha Migone, được dịch bởi Hoa Nguyen

    Trong những tháng đầu của năm 2015, tôi đã đến thành phố Rôma với tư cách là Giám đốc Ơn Gọi của Giáo phận chúng ta cùng với Đức Giám mục Hartmayer đễ thăm viếng hàng năm với chủng sinh Andrew Larkin, và nay đã trở thành linh mục, lúc đó đang học tại trường Cao đẳng Giáo hoàng Bắc Mỹ ở Rôma . Trong thời gian ở thành phố này, Đức Giám mục Hartmayer đã yêu cầu một cuộc họp mặt tại Bộ Phụ trách Phong Thánh (nay gọi là Bộ Phong Thánh) để điều tra về tình trạng của Án phong Chân Phước cho Thầy Pedro de Corpa và bạn đồng hành. Tỉnh Dòng Thánh Phanxicô ở New York đã hoàn thành nghiên cứu lịch sử và trình bày bãng nghiên cứu này lên tòa án (Dicastery, Một trong những tòa án chính thức của Tòa Thánh) gần tám năm trước đó, nhưng sau đó là một khoảng dừng thời gian hoàn toàn không có một hành động nào hết.

    Chúng tôi được chào đón nồng nhiệt bởi một Giám mục làm việc tại tòa án (Dicastery), và ngài nhanh chóng tuyên bố rằng nguyên nhân lẽ ra đã kết thúc từ lâu bởi vì phần lớn công việc đã được thực hiện xong rồi. Chúng tôi khá bất ngờ và hài lòng với tin này. Đức Giám mục đã đưa chúng tôi vào để liên lạc với Cha Giovanni Giuseppe Califano, OFM, linh mục ở Rôma, người Cáo Thỉnh viên, là người tiến hành việc phong chân phước hoặc phong thánh tiến hành và phục vụ với tư cách là người bào chữa tư pháp trước tòa án (Dicastery) theo yêu cầu của Giáo Hội. Cha Califano vui mừng chào đón chúng tôi sáng hôm sau. Kể từ chuyến thăm đầu tiên đó và nhiều năm sau đó, Cha Califano đã trở thành hoàn toàn cần thiết không thể thiếu để đưa nguyên nhân phong chân phước tiến về phía hàng đầu.

    Trong số rất nhiều chỉ thị của Cha Califano, có cả việc ủy quyền cho một tượng đài và sản xuất một bộ phim tài liệu. Nhiều nỗ lực của nhiều người đã được chuyển tải xây dựng một tượng đài tuyệt đẹp ở tỉnh Darien, Georgia bởi nhà điêu khắc Công giáo người Gia Nã Đại Timothy Schmaltz. Tác phẩm nghệ thuật tuyệt đẹp của nghệ sĩ nổi tiếng thế giới này là dành riêng trong 2021. Cảm ơn khoản tài trợ từ Ủy ban Truyền Thông của các Giám mục Hoa Kỳ, Guerilla Productions từ Savannah đã tham gia sản xuất bộ phim “Vì Lợi Ích của Tin Mừng” (For the Sake of the Gospel), bộ phim tài liệu dài khoảng ba mươi phút kể về câu chuyện anh hùng của Thầy Pedro de Corpa và bạn đồng hành trong bối cảnh lịch sử của các ngài. Bộ phim tài liệu này sẽ phục vụ như một công cụ hữu hiệu để nâng cao nhận thức về câu chuyện của các Tu sĩ.

    Để đáp lại sự quan tâm ngày càng tăng đối với Chánh Đạo, và sự cam kết không lay chuyển từ Giáo phận Savannah, Cha Califano tiếp tục viết tài liệu cuối cùng cho trình bày trước tòa án, được gọi là Positio, (Positio nghĩa là một bản trình bày ngắn gọn chính thức tranh luận về việc phong thánh cho một cá nhân trong Giáo hội). Cùng một nhà sử học đã viết Positio cho việc phong thánh cho Thánh Junipero Serra bắt đầu được tiến hành và tài liệu đã được đệ trình vào  vào năm 2022. Đầu năm 2023, chúng tôi hoan nghênh đón mừng tin vui rằng Cơ quan Lịch sử Ủy ban của  tòa án (Dicastery) phong thánh đã nhất trí đưa ra tài liệu này đồng thời cũng bỏ phiếu thuận lợi. Bây giờ chúng ta chờ thêm hai ủy ban nữa để xem xét nguyên nhân trước khi Tòa Thánh Rôma đưa ra quyết định cuối cùng về việc năm anh em này có được xem xét hay không được phước giữa các thánh.

    Mặc dù hy vọng của chúng tôi là Tòa Thánh Rôma sẽ đưa ra phản hồi thuận lợi và sẽ có lễ phong chân phước trong tương lai cho Giáo phận của chúng ta, nhưng câu chuyện về những anh em này đáng được biết và kể vì chính đó. Đó là một ví dụ về việc truyền giáo được Giáo Hội thực hiện trong suốt nhiều thế kỷ, cũng như đặc tính dòng Phanxicô của các nhà truyền giáo sống gần gũi với những người được giao phó cho họ chăm sóc mà không có quân đồn trú. Câu chuyện về những người đàn ông này là một trong những câu chuyện về lòng dũng cảm vị tha và đức tính anh hùng. Chúng ta cầu nguyện hiệp nhất với Thiên Chúa Cha, để Chánh Đạo của Tu sĩ Pedro de Corpa và các bạn được tiến lên, để công việc và sự hy sinh của họ được Giáo Hội chính thức công nhận và chứng tá của họ được trao cho Giáo Hội hoàn vũ như một gương mẫu đáng noi theo.


Full Documentary Interviews


For the Sake of the Gospel: The Story of the Georgia Martyrs
Interviews by Braelyn Snow


Extended Conversations from the February 2024 Edition

  • Michael Jordan, Producer

    I started as a local TV news anchor and reporter and worked in markets throughout the southeast. I got to Savannah in 1997, and worked at WSAV, the NBC affiliate, for a decade or so and then shifted into history museum work as a PR person and kept doing video documentaries after that. I did a lot of work on the history of Savannah’s homes, cemeteries, and museums. I did a lot of museum orientation films for organizations and a significant amount of archeological and educational videos for the Revolutionary War, Civil War battlefields, and underwater archeology in the Savannah area for government agencies and archeologists. I went down to St. Catherine's on my own because I was fascinated by the archeology there. I started working with David Hurst Thomas and the other archeologists there around 2015. I was working on the video in that arena when the diocese decided they wanted to make a film about the martyrs.

    Because I was a local news anchor, I knew [former communications director] Barbara King. I had worked with her on the Flannery O'Connor project and eventually ended up filming items in the archives related to the cause of the martyrs.

    I have a master’s in history from Armstrong. I was into history from age six or earlier. It was always one of the things that I did. As a history major in college, I always thought of journalism as front-line history.

    They asked me if I wanted to make a bid to make the entire film, but I felt like this project deserved more than I could do by myself. I asked my friend Wil to be the principal, and I’d be the producer, and his bid was accepted. This was during the pandemic, so it was very difficult to travel, and they wanted crew sizes to be small. He would film interviews in Savannah, Atlanta, and elsewhere while I would be in Knoxville, Tennessee, where I live now, asking the questions on a stand in front of them via an iPad, which was a first for me.

    It was great to see it come to a point where we could capture the history and spiritual part of the story. I'm proud of the fact that the project adheres to best practice standards regarding history and archeology. The viewpoints and motivations of the Native Americans who killed the friars are taken into consideration. It wasn't just a simple, good guy, bad guy story. It's very subtle.

    I'm Methodist and have never been around the Canonization process before. It was fun to learn about. We have dear friends in Atlanta who are active members at a parish where Fr. Pablo hosted a screening, and I got to go and answer people's questions. It was rewarding to see how the story matters to people’s faith today.

    One of my biggest takeaways is that there's Spanish history in Georgia that goes way back. I don't know what kids learn in school today. I know we learned about the 13 colonies and the American Revolution, but there were Catholic Spanish missionaries before Georgia even existed. This unknown chapter of history is fun to teach people about.

    You can take inspiration from these men for your life. They were exemplars of what it means to die for something that you believe in. They were willing to die for the importance of commitment in relationships like marriage and to stand up for it. It's also a reminder of the lost cultures that we don't have anymore because of diseases. We hear terrible things about what Spanish colonizers did to Native Americans in places like Mexico and Peru, and it's all true. But we don't hear about the fact that there were these men who were essentially like astronauts or Peace Corps people. They were the best of the best who went to a new world, risking their lives to live with a culture that was so different from their own.

    It's important to remember that there are a lot of good things that happened with the Spanish missionaries. Their deaths are just one point of their stories. I want to know what their lives were like beforehand and what drove them to want to give up everything that they had in Spain, to give up the opportunity to be rich. One of them was an aristocrat. What prompted them to get on a rickety boat to sail across the storm-tossed Atlantic for weeks to get to this wilderness where survival was a daily challenge? It must have been an incredible adventure, and I'd love to hear that whole story from them.

    I'd also like to know what being a Christian meant for the Guale. In our society, we have a base understanding of Christianity and Western civilization, almost like background noise in our culture, and we can choose how much we want to internalize it. It was brand new to them. I wonder what their context was to even understand Jesus and Mary and what it meant to them to incorporate it into their understanding of nature and God. It would have been fascinating to talk to them. It would almost be like aliens dropping out of the sky and saying, here's your new religion. What would go through your mind and how would you react to that? And how much would it change everything that had been the same for hundreds of years?

    What I enjoy the most is the research. J. Michael Francis, who's been involved with the cause as an academic, goes over to Spain every summer with college students to research in the archives there. I've done a lot of archival research for my stuff here, and the best thing in the world is to spend a day digging around in old documents to experience people speaking with their own voices after hundreds of years.

    Wil can tell you some awesome stories about how they shot those reenactments. Like the guy who was paddling the kayak just before the natives attacked him. The team found half of an old dugout canoe that had been turned into a bookshelf, bought it, and waterproofed it. The crew is just barely out of frame, pushing him in the canoe through the mud and water while he pretends to paddle.

    We also had to figure out where to shoot during the pandemic. It was also challenging to cast the actors as the Native Americans, since nobody really knows what they looked like. We worked with John Worth, the only known Guale historian. It was an involved process of getting costumes and props and finding environments that were realistic.

    I mainly write books now, but I have one ongoing history video project about Revolutionary War cannons and anchors discovered in the Savannah River, and I oversee the filming. My master's thesis focused on a Civil War shipwreck, which I got to film being raised by the Corps of Engineers during the harbor deepening. They were dredging some more and found other cannons, and I was like “Whoa, these are decades older!” They turned out to be ships that the British had sunk in the river when the French came here to fight in 1779.

  • Katy Lockard, Archivist

    How did you get involved in this project?

    The archivist for the diocese serves as the custodian of the cause records, and there had been a lot of interest around the cause. I came on right before Bishop Lessard [who opened the martyrs’ cause] died, and every time somebody went down to talk to him, he’d ask again and again, “How's the cause going?” Because the function of the chancellor is the official chief record keeper of the diocese (which is what Father Pablo does), when now Archbishop Hartmayer went to Rome to find out what was going on with the cause so he could report back to Bishop Lessard, there were some questions about paperwork. Father Pablo said we needed to investigate this, so I spent a lot of time reviewing records to determine when the last thing was done. Part of the canonization process also includes popular piety; the community also has to be invested in the saint. It's not just that the diocese thinks it's a good idea, and we're going to pay for the process, and that's it. There has to be a movement, I would argue, of the Holy Spirit, not just the community. The community had been doing quite a bit, but we hadn't had all that information in one place. We needed a report of all the things that we have done to promote the cause and all the things that the community has done, and that's how the report publication came about. When Fr. Pablo showed up with a report, the vice pastor remarked, “You have been doing a lot!” and was more impressed when he returned with our further-updated report the next time. Rome was very clearly interested in what we were doing, especially the popular piety. I firmly believe Bishop Lessard has something to do with that. I think he is lobbying for those guys.

    On the grassroots nature of popular piety

    In so many respects, you want to control the narrative to ensure the wrong information isn’t getting out there. Still, at the same time, it's interesting how you lose complete control over something that is related to canonization or a saint. They become larger than life, and people come up with all these devotions and express them in many different ways. It's a fascinating dichotomy.

    Some things are oral history, but the Georgia Martyrs started appearing in martyrdoms as far back as the 17th century. They were killed and were written about within about five years. It makes a big difference when contemporary sources talk about people they knew personally or were their peers. In the poem La Florida, if I remember correctly, the Franciscan who wrote it writes hagiographically when speaking about the martyrdoms. But he had a personal relationship with one of the guys, and because he knew him, he felt he needed to talk about it. When you get the eyewitnesses or writings of the time, including the correspondence back and forth between the Franciscans or from the provincial council, the Council of the Indies in English. I was very heavily reliant on a couple of experts who have worked in the field who have translated material for us: David Hurst Thomas for archeology; J. Michael Francis, at the University of Southern Florida-he wrote Murder and Martyrdom in Spanish Florida, in which he translates several pieces of correspondence about the investigation after the martyrdoms. It was great having access to those primary sources. I can do modern Spanish, but 16th-century Spanish is above my ability.

    If I hadn't been involved in the cause in Savannah, I would not have been able to keep up with my work in St. Augustine. I could bring all the knowledge I gained to my work here in learning about the cause. We're talking about the Catholic community in early Spanish Florida. I can't tell you how immensely that's helped me. It also helped to have several historians and archeologists whose papers, whose monographs, and whose publications I had read and some of whom I had interfaced with already because now I can say, well, I know this person well, and I've worked with them already once, and they're worth their salt.

    The Diocese of St. Augustine is super excited about partnering with the Spanish nonprofit Instituto NAUTA, intending to bring the Camino de Santiago here to Florida and eventually to the entire United States. Two years ago, I traveled to Spain with a delegation from the diocese, and we received a gift of a statue of Santiago. It's the same statue that's in the Portico of Glory at the end of the Camino. So, the mileage that you walk here in this country on approved routes will count towards the required mileage in Spain to get to Compostela. We're excited to be collaborating with Spain on that project. We already had a route approved. It was a 30-mile walk called the Baby Steps Camino that's put on by the Knights of Malta every year in December. This year was their seventh year, and the first year one could apply those miles to any of the Caminos in Spain. The intention is to bring people down here because pilgrimage is such an important part of our faith: traveling, the process of fasting and praying, and going through the transformation. There's also the cause of the martyrs of La Florida, which is going on right now. Their diocesan process just ended in, I believe, October. They're waiting for a response from Rome also.

    St. Augustine has started a local history festival with the intention of bringing people in to educate them more about the true history of St. Augustine. This year, I'm hosting two lectures, one by an indigenous studies professor who specifically focuses on indigenous women. Americans often think that when the Western culture came, that was the beginning of time. The reality is that there were people here long before we were. The other lecture will be on Catholic spirituality from a medieval studies professor who teaches a course on the Camino. So that's one of the things that the archives are doing to support the Church and also educate the secular community.

    On the Georgia Martyrs

    I was in religious life for a little while, and I remember learning about four sisters in the ‘60s who left the community to start our sister community in Peru, fully expecting never to see the United States again. I remember having a conversation with one of the sisters who was still alive when I was in religious life, saying, “I don't know how you did it,” to which she responded “You just did. This is what you were called to. This is what you were asked to do. We were going there to help support the Church.” I can't fathom. We went on a boat ride recently and went by a reconstruction of the sloops from around the 1530s. My husband and I thought, “I can't imagine being on the sea in that for two months.” Their decision to leave their family, friends, and community meant these guys were living in the middle of nowhere all by their lonesome- they weren't even in close contact with their brother friars. They saw them, but sometimes it was a couple of months. It took moral grit. I have hiked some places in Florida and southwestern or southeast Georgia that are rural, and I can't imagine. It must not have been fun. The mosquitos love me, so there’s that, too.

  • Wil Kazary, Director

    Michael and I had done a couple of different projects together in the past in our history days. We had recently finished one for the Owens-Thomas House and their urban slave quarters, in which we ended up getting really in-depth in reenactments. So, when the diocese came forth with the grant and wanted to put this together, it worked for us because we already had proof of concept that we could do that sort of thing. Michael is very proficient with research and working on writing. We're able to split up the workload where I can direct and produce, and Michael can write and produce. We have a lot of going back and forth. Michael and I have been friends since ‘97, I think, so there's a level of knowing somebody that long, that we know how the other thinks.

    We started the project before COVID hit, and I didn't want to lose momentum. We went from doing a couple of interviews a day with a full crew to just me doing one interview a day. I was driving all over the place and taking the whole day to set up piles and piles of gear with a remote setup for “Digital Michael” so he could ask the questions remotely.

    I went everywhere trying to find a dugout canoe. A friend of mine is a 4H director, and I go “Hey, guys! How would you like to make 500 bucks and end up with a canoe at the end?” They looked at the work it takes to make a dugout canoe (even with a chainsaw it’s a massive undertaking) and had to say no. Eventually I found half of a dugout canoe from the late 1800s that matched the style. Someone had repurposed it into a bookcase. The person selling it was amazed that I would buy this on purpose. I spent about two weeks patching all the holes, knowing it was never really going to hold somebody. We had to make it “float”, so we made a series of sawhorses mounted underneath. We had to push it pretty fast because it basically turned into a colander. Chad, who played Francisco de Veráscola, was a good sport. As he paddled, we very carefully framed it so you never see the fact that you can’t use it. Meanwhile, I’m out there with a $30,000 camera right above the water, with another guy slowly sinking into the mud, making sure the canoe didn’t capsize.

    Reenactments are the fun part for me, really diving deep into the facts. We used a lot of fog machines to give it that nice haze because there would have been smokey fires around. As a cinematographer, it was wonderful to see the shafts of light cut through the haze, combining that with the interior lighting, using orange gels to emulate candlelight. We ended up aiming a massive 1800W spotlight, basically a portable sun, through the gaps in the boards in the chapel.

    The lady doing the costuming just knocked it out of the park. We spent months going over all kinds of tiny details and working with the historians and sociologists, made extra challenging because the Guale is a vanished tribe.

    There is still a bit of a mystery around what really happened, because it really looks like one of the old chiefs set Juanillo up to knock out a rival and get a better relationship with the Spanish. I wanted to tell a very balanced story.

    I've been shooting video since I was in high school and professionally for over 20 years, and this was different than anything I'd ever done. The level and depth we had to get into really affected how I approach historical projects. We have a couple of them lined up, one this summer that's going to be in a museum in Savannah. I feel very lucky to have been part of it.

    In 1597, Columbus had already been back and forth, the conquistadors had already been here, so the age of exploration is in full swing at that point. We look at current times right now where we're right on the edge of having the chance of being an interplanetary species, and I think there are some serious parallels. You were stuck there and couldn’t call somebody for help, and transportation isn’t fast. I think there's a lot to be said for looking at the past, to interpret the present.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Michael and I had done a couple of different projects together in the past in our history days. We had recently finished one for the Owens-Thomas House and their urban slave quarters, in which we ended up getting really in-depth in reenactments. So, when the diocese came forth with the grant and wanted to put this together, it worked for us because we already had proof of concept that we could do that sort of thing.

    I found half of a dugout canoe from the late 1800s that matched the style. Someone had repurposed it into a bookcase. We had to push it pretty fast because it basically turned into a colander. Chad, who played Francisco de Veráscola, was a good sport. As he paddled, we very carefully framed it so you never see the fact that you can’t use it. Meanwhile, I’m out there with a $30,000 camera right above the water, with another guy slowly sinking into the mud, making sure the canoe didn’t capsize.

    I've been shooting video since I was in high school and professionally for over 20 years, and this was different than anything I'd ever done. The level and depth we had to get into really affected how I approach historical projects. We have a couple of them lined up, one this summer that's going to be in a museum in Savannah. I feel very lucky to have been part of it.

     

     

     

     


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