SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic podcaster and former news personality has published a film documentary telling several inspiring stories of faith and miracles in central Illinois, including, notably, the miracle that led Pope Francis to initially approve the beatification of Bishop Fulton Sheen.
A press release on the film stated, “Andrew Hansen, host of the Catholic podcast Dive Deep, editor of Catholic Times, and former television personality on ABC, NBC, and FOX affiliates in Central Illinois, teams up with Father Michael Trummer, parochial vicar of St. Boniface Parish in Edwardsville and chaplain at Father McGivney Catholic High School in Glen Carbon, in a journey across Central Illinois, as they find five incredible stories of faith/miraculous events in five cities that will show God is alive and help move people to put their faith in action.”
Hansen said of the film, “If you are full of faith, clinging to faith, or have lost hope in faith, we invite you to watch this one-hour documentary that will make you laugh and cry, but most importantly, get you inspired, move you to hope, and fall in love with faith in a whole new way. We set out to find ‘jaw-dropping’ stories of miraculous events and people — who despite the walls of pain or struggles closing in — found light and joy in unexpected ways. Miracles still happen, and they are happening in Central Illinois.”
The press release highlights from the five stories include:
- “About a year before Father Marty Smith of Jerseyville was set to be ordained a priest, he had serious doubts about becoming a priest, until God answered his prayer in a miraculous way;
- After having two abortions, Betty Parquette of Springfield felt broken and unforgiveable, that is until a conversation with a priest changed everything for her. That moment not only gave her life new purpose, but sent her on a mission to save lives;
- Bonnie Engstrom of Washington (near Peoria) faced a new parent’s worst nightmare, delivering a child with no signs of life. Needing a miracle, she turned to one specific person to intercede for her lifeless son, James, hoping God could raise him from the dead;
- Sara Reichert of rural Adams County (near Quincy) admits she used to equate intelligence with worth. Then, God gave her a daughter, Hope, that changed her entire outlook on life and faith;
- Grant Wilson’s constant back pain due to having different leg lengths was always a challenge. After doctors advised against surgery, Grant turned to a healing service in Decatur. What happened there made people ‘gasp.’”
Engstrom’s story made it all the way to Rome, where it received unanimous approval from the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints and was finally approved by Pope Francis as a verified miracle, which led to a decree for Bishop Fulton Sheen’s beatification. The beatification has since been delayed due to an investigation into the bishop’s handling of abuse cases, which has concluded there was no mishandling of cases, raising hopes that Sheen’s beatification will finally see its day soon. A petition to this end has been initiated by the Fulton Sheen Movement.
Speaking of the documentary, Hansen, who filmed it using only two cameras and two cell phones, said, “We want to take viewers on an authentic and raw journey with us as we travel Central Illinois, so it’s our hope that intimacy makes viewers connect more with the stories,” Father Michael Trummer and Andrew Hansen produced a documentary, God is Alive, using two cameras and cell phones.
“The documentary was awesome, and I encourage people to go see it,” said Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield Illinois, in whose diocese the film was made. “It tells some incredible stories of faith, healing, and real miracles, so go watch it.”
Father Christopher Trummer (Father Michael Trummer’s brother), parochial vicar at St. Agnes Parish in Springfield, called the documentary “fantastic.” “I’ve noticed in my own life and in my ministry being with different people that there is really not a shortage of these stories of God touching people and God working in miraculous ways, but there is a shortage of us sharing about it. I just loved it, and I highly recommend it.”