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The Francis Impact: A story of friendship from tragedy in Quebec

Sebastian Gomes

April 17, 2019

The Francis Impact: A story of friendship from tragedy in Quebec

Today is National Canadian Film Day. Here at Salt+Light, we are just weeks away from the release of our latest and long-awaited documentary, The Francis Impact. The film is comprised of four stories, each revealing a unique and powerful impact of Pope Francis on the lives of ordinary people. The film premieres on Sunday, May 5th at 8pmET. Find more air times here.
To celebrate National Canadian Film Day, we are sharing a new teaser (see below) that highlights the only Canadian story in our film, which comes from Quebec City. It deals specifically with interfaith dialogue, a theme of primary concern for Pope Francis, as his recent visits to the United Arab Emirates in February and Morocco in March demonstrate.
Our story emerged from a great tragedy in Quebec City. On the evening of January 29, 2017, a young man fuelled with anti-immigration sentiment and armed with a handgun and semi-automatic rifle, walked into the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City and opened fire. He killed six of the fifty-three worshippers inside and injured twenty more.
The Cardinal-Archbishop of Quebec, Gerald Lacroix, was at the Vatican when he heard the horrific news, and he immediately told Pope Francis. The Pope gave him a hug and a clear message:

“Go home and tell these people we are with them.”

When the Cardinal returned to Quebec, he met one of the founders of the mosque, Boufeldjah Benabdallah, who was representing the Muslim community with the media in the wake of the attack. When the Cardinal shared the Pope’s gesture with Mr. Benabdallah, and reached out in dialogue and fraternity to the Muslim community on behalf of the Catholic Church, a personal friendship began between the two religious leaders.
What is at the heart of Pope Francis’s gestures and outreach to the Muslim world? Dialogue and Peace; the same motivations that led St. Francis of Assisi (the pope’s namesake) to Damietta, Egypt during the fifth Crusade in 1219. This year, the Catholic Church celebrates the 800th anniversary of that encounter between Francis and the sultan, al-Kamil.
For Pope Francis, the future of humanity depends on fostering dialogue and building peace, especially between communities that do not know each other. And the only way to get to know each other is to encounter one another.
The horrific tragedy in Quebec in January 2017 brought an unexpected opportunity for encounter. Amidst the tears and feelings of alienation among the Muslim community, the Catholic Church, inspired by Pope Francis and under the leadership of Cardinal Lacroix, reached out in solidarity. The gesture was relatively small, but the impact has been enormous.

The Francis Impact
premieres on
Salt + Light TV on
Sunday, May 5 at 8pm and midnight EST.

 

For more on The Francis Impact, including a full-length trailer, behind-the-scenes photos, and our special #TFIMOMENTS, visit the official webpage.

Watch the Teaser HERE.

How to watch:

Salt + Light TV is available through most major cable providers in Canada and will be on Free Preview from April 14 to May 12.
(Check with your local TV provider for details.)
Click here to find out what TV providers carry us and how to subscribe.
If you are outside Canada, you can watch online via our live stream or by using our Roku application.