NEW YORK – BlackFriar Films, a branch of the Dominican Friars, Province of Saint Joseph, is echoing the call of Pope Francis for young Catholics to “stir things up” and take their faith “to the streets.” The new BlackFriar Films music video does just that. Father Austin Dominic Litke, O.P. sings a new arrangement of the traditional English hymn “Come My Way, My Truth, My Life” in various locations in Manhattan and on the Brooklyn Bridge – all while dressed in the medieval Dominican habit of his order.
As The Christian Post reported in July, during stormy World Youth Day festivities in Brazil, Pope Francis told young pilgrims: “I want you to take to the streets. I want the Church to take to the streets.”
“Come My Way” was composed by NYU graduate Edward David. Artists who wish to record the song and publishers who wish to print the score should contact George Goss at the Dominican Foundation, who will forward requests to the songwriter.
In “Come My Way”, Father Robert Koopmann, O.S.B. plays piano and Ms. Leah Sedlacek plays violin.
Background on the BlackFriar Films ‘Come My Way’ music video
The Dominican Friars, Province of Saint Joseph, are chaplains of the Catholic Center at New York University, where Father Austin Litke, O.P. serves NYU students and collaborates with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), who are also missionaries on the NYU campus.
As a result, BlackFriar Films (formerly called Kindly Light Media) was started in December 2010 by graduates of NYU’s Tisch Film Production School along with Father Gabriel Gillen, O.P. These recent alumni are dedicated to their Catholic faith and producing films to move the hearts and minds of young people.
In less than three years, BlackFriar Films has produced six documentaries and is co-producing a feature with EWTN called Fulton Sheen: The Art of Preaching. This came about when Father Gillen recovered vintage film of Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen.
The BlackFriar Films catalog includes The Sea Within, a film with philosopher Peter Kreeft on how the sport of surfing inspires people to ponder the magnificence of God through nature. Other BlackFriar Films on DVD include Master of the Sacred Palace with Father Wojciech Giertych, O.P., a priest of the Polish Province of the Dominican Order, theologian to the Papal Household and former master of the Sacred Palace; Five Paths to the Priesthood; and The Catholic Center at NYU: Icon of the New Evangelization.
The modest BlackFriar Films team includes John Fisher and Joshua Vargas, graduates of the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU; plus George Goss, who earned a Master of Digital Photography degree at the School of Visual Arts.
Young people are flocking to the Dominicans
BlackFriar Films seeks to help perpetuate the Dominicans’ 800-year tradition which includes the intellectual giant Saint Thomas Aquinas, whose beautiful hymns are still sung today, and Blessed Fra Angelico, whose masterpiece paintings are admired by the world.
Because of truth, beauty and tradition, young people are flocking to the Dominicans. In the New York Times story “For Friars, Finding Renewal by Sticking to Tradition,” Father Gerard Dunne reveals the appeal of the Dominican Order from his home in Cork, Ireland.
In the United States, recently ordained Father Austin Litke, O.P., a priest, teacher and artist, represents a boon in vocations to the Dominican Friars, Province of Saint Joseph. Today, more than 70 young men are studying for the priesthood in this province alone, and over 1,000 Dominicans are in formation for the priesthood worldwide.
Father Litke’s fellow performers in “Come My Way” have dedicated years of their lives to serving young people. Father Robert Koopmann, O.S.B. is former president of Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota – and Ms. Leah Sedlacek served as a FOCUS missionary at Columbia University in New York City and Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Now Leah is based at the FOCUS headquarters near Denver, where she coordinates short-term mission trips throughout the world.
While the “Come My Way” video and MP3 recordings are free, the Dominican Foundation welcomes financial donations to support its work.