Heroes of the Faith. The Stories of real-life Saints and Christian Heroes all come to life in CCC of America’s award-winning animated film series. Featuring authentic role models today’s child can truly believe in.
In this amazing, whopping 11-episode animated series, miracles are revealed along with the strength of the Christian faith. Illustrated in vivid animation along with the storytelling the series focuses on those who held to their faith during persecution and trials. Also included is an animated telling of the story of Ulysses, as found in Homer’s epic poem, “The Odyssey.”
In episode one, “The Day the Sun Danced: The True Story of Fatima,” a story based on an original text by Robert J. Fox, an angel appears to three shepherd children. This occurred in Portugal in 1916. This appearance was to prepare them for what lay ahead. They are told to pray an adoration prayer to God, and they are told the hearts of Mary and Jesus are listening to their prayers.
We want to note up front that many references are given to Jesus being the Savior and our Lord. However, there are comments made, scattered here and there in the film, about praying the Rosary and looking to Mary, who is said to be perfect and without sin. Yet Mary in the Magnificat said her soul looked to God her savior (Luke 1:47). We wanted to make note of it, while also noting that many examples of looking to Jesus and sharing the gospel are seen in this series.
In the first episode, Lucia, just 10, Francisco, 9, and Jacinta, 7, are those that are given the secrets of Mary’s visitation. They are told to continue to say the rosary for only “she” (Mary) can end the raging war. However, a plea is made of, “Oh, Jesus, forgive us our sins.” One of the miracles is the light appearing during the rain.
In the second episode, “Francis the Knight of Assisi,” we see in the opening scene a man at a tavern who claims he will one day be a knight and a king. This is Francis, whose life will go in a much different direction than he had planned. Francis is a compassionate man, who gives alms to the poor and then is off on a crusade. In a life-changing moment, Francis falls from his horse and hears a voice that tells him to return home, and that he will do more for the glory of God apart from the battle. St. Francis is told he will be used to rebuild the church for the Lord spiritually, but he also is used to establish a church and soon the bell rings joyously from the steeple! He also prays his now famous prayer: “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon…” And so forth.
Each episode gives fascinating details of the struggles, obstacles and yet the persevering faith that helped these spiritual heroes to conquer and to march forward.
In episode three, “St. Nicholas-Santa,” we see the origins of the big-hearted saint who helped the poor, brought gifts which lifted the hearts of many people, and inspired the modern-day tales of Santa Claus. Nicholas deals with the Roman oppression of his day but maintains his caring heart, giving a bishop a large fish, the only catch of the day. In one unforgettable scene, a man declares he wants to be a Christian and be baptized, and St. Nicholas laughs, “Ho, ho, ho!”
In episode four, “Bernadette,” Bernadette becomes known as “The Princess of Lourdes.” It’s 1858, when the story begins with Bernadette having a vision of a lady in white and surrounded by roses. Bernadette prays the Rosary and her vision makes the local newspaper. She is told to pray for the conversion of sinners. Although one man wants to take Bernadette to a mad house, Bernadette inspires many to turn to confessing their sins and taking part in communion. And a chapel is built at a grotto. She leads many to Jesus and is declared a saint in 1936.
In episode five, “Columbus: Adventures to the Edge of the World,” the story opens with a young Christopher Columbus at sea, being instructed to go to the top of the crow’s nest of the ship. Due to his vigilance in spotting a water spout, the crew survives. However, many adventures lie in wait as the crew fights pirates and — precariously — are forced to abandon a sinking ship. As time passes, Queen Isabella of Castille desires to spread the Christian faith, so Columbus sets sail with a trio of ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Their goal is to discover new lands and people with which to share the gospel. Will a volcano hold them back?
In episode six, “Ben-Hur: A Race to Glory,” we learn of Judah Ben-Hur, a young man who eventually will face Roman oppression. But Ben-Hur gains favor with God and an exciting chariot race is in store for the viewer when a sheik wants to see him race. And we see Jesus perform a miracle, which is one of the highlights of the episode.
In episode seven, “The Odyssey: A Journey Back Home,” Homer’s epic poem is portrayed, with the hero Ulysses facing everything from a giant cyclops, a whirlpool at sea, a three-headed serpent, and a long absence from his wife Penelope and son Telemachus as he battles to return home from sea.
In episode eight, “Francis Xavier,” the story of the young boy who became a priest is nicely told. Francis is commissioned by the Lord to bring people closer to Jesus. An exciting jungle scene is shown with Francis both saving a boy from a ravenous tiger and then in turn being rescued himself. The soul is more valuable than gaining the entire world and Francis does a commendable job in reminding people of this truth.
In episode nine, “Patrick: Brave Shepherd of the Emerald Isle,” Patrick’s story begins with him being captured to become a slave. He is forced to sleep out in the rain in the ship he is on. However, he goes on to become a priest and a miracle he is a part of over serpents must be seen to be appreciated.
In episode 10, “My Secret Friend: A Guardian Angel Story,” young Danny and Angie talk of guardian angels. Little does Angie know she will need the help of one, when two thieves pursue her in a dangerous location and she unknowingly picks up a costly bracelet they had stolen. A statue of the archangel Michael reminds the viewer of the help of angels and two lives are dramatically changed by God.
In the final episode of the series, “Juan Diego: Messenger of Guadalupe,” Juan and a friend find a baby girl and name her in honor of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The story focuses on the hard feelings between the Indians and the Spanish, but Juan is determined to bring peace to them all and, when he sees a vision of Mary, he believes victory is possible. A comic relief scene features a parrot continually saying it wants chocolate!
We are awarding our Dove seal for Ages 12+ to this series, while noting parents should consult the content listings. There are some wonderful themes of Christ’s love in the series, but also a few teachings that parents will want to filter when it comes to their children watching, such as the “sinless, perfect” Mary comments and people kneeling before an image of Mary. But that Mary deserved honor and respect goes without saying. One of the blessings of the episodes is the inclusion of the Lord’s Prayer.
The Dove Take:
This inspiring series focuses on many Biblical heroes of the past and it reveals the power of the Lord to still save.