In Year for Priests, Father David Guffey
, heeds Pope's words to use all tools to spread the Gospel
On a May day in 2010, he
walks around the set in Hollywood managing the schedule and the film cast and crew he
assembled for the production of a half-hour, TV teen drama.
wears Hollywood black, but with one unique addition - a white collar visible in his
is Father David Guffey
, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross
and the Director of Film and Television for Family Theater Productions.
The approximately 20 cast and crew follow his
professional management on the set respecting this producer who was making all the pieces work.
The production is another program in Family Theater Productions'
Manifest Mysteries dramas that connect the Mysteries of the Rosary directly to the dramatic experiences of fictional teen protagonists.
Father Guffey & director of photography Jack Winch
started off the production in an unusual way for this Hollywood crew … with a prayer … and they all joined in.
did something that is often unusual in Hollywood.
brought the scheduled 10-day production in a day early.
In this Year for Priests that concludes June 19, Father Guffey
sees this work not as an extension of his
priestly ministry but an integral part of it.
"As the Holy Father has recently been saying, we need to use all the tools available to let people know the Gospel.
For me using video and Internet is part of the work of serving people pastorally, listening to what is in people's hearts and offering stories and images to support the best of what it is to be human and Catholic in the world today."
In opening the year on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, June 19, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI said, "I think of all those priests who quietly present Christ's words and actions each day to the faithful and to the whole world, striving to be one with the Lord in their thoughts and their will, their sentiments and their style of life."
film work at Family Theater Productions
is able to present Christ's words and actions to the masses, while he
fully functions as a priest.
At Family Theater Productions
often celebrates the daily Mass, and he
celebrates Mass regularly and participates in the ministry of St. Monica's parish, Santa Monica, where he
is in residence.
production roots can be traced to when he
was a boy in northwestern Illinois, using his
parents' 8 mm camera to make home-made films in his
Though he took a different vocation path, being ordained a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross on April 4, 1991, that penchant for film never left him.
And through "a long and winding road," on May 11, 2010, he found himself on a film production set in Hollywood managing the schedule and the film crew he assembled as the producer for a half-hour, faith-and-values, TV drama.
Exactly two years earlier, his
parents watched him graduate with a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Film from Loyola Marymount University's Graduate School of Film, Los Angeles
Three days earlier, May 8, 2008, at the LMU film school awards' ceremony, he
received the Dean's Award for academic excellence, creativity and service.
And on July 1, 2008, he became the director of Family Theater Productions' Film and Television Department.
"That's what's great about Family Theater Productions; those two things come together in a unique way," Father Guffey
spent six months as an intern at Family Theater Productions
starting in January 2005.
During that period, he
took some film classes at various venues in the Los Angeles area before starting his
graduate film studies at LMU that fall.
last year of film school, he
found time to help with the production crew of the previous two Manifest Mysteries dramas, Assumptions and Finding Mary.
Prior to his Family Theater Productions'
internship and film studies, he
had a brief sabbatical following his
tenure as novice director for all Congregation
of Holy Cross provinces in North America from 1998 to 2004.
"When I finished my tenure as novice director, the Holy Cross community encouraged me to do further studies.
I was looking at ways to be involved in Catholic media.
I discerned the best way to do this and use my talents was to pursue a degree in film production.
My religious superiors were very enthused about it," Father Guffey
"I'm grateful to the province for the opportunity to have studied at LMU, which was great for me.
I worked on a lot of film shoots, and wrote, produced and directed dramas, much like Family Theater Productions'
dramas - narratives with themes leading to deeper reflections," he
produced, wrote and director his
thesis film, a 20-minute drama, Last Deal at the Mt. Carroll Gun Club
It's the story of friendship among several old men and their efforts to save their card club house.
It was a story idea that he
got from his
father who was a member of a card club for over 20 years.
grew up in Mt. Carroll, Ill., where his parents Gary and Eileen Guffey, and his sister, Lisa, who is now married and has six children, still live.
Media was already a familiar field for David Guffey when he went to Notre Dame.
was an avid still photographer in high school and became a stringer (free-lance reporter) for several community papers in the Mt. Carroll area.
was interested in studying journalism in college before discerning his
vocation to the priesthood.
was able to build on that foundation as a priest when he
ran the Indiana Province-sponsored Andre House, a soup kitchen in Phoenix, Ariz., from 1990 to 1996.
"We needed to do publicity and there was no money, so I took classes - fundraising, how to work with the media, media relations - and I started to do more of that for Andre House and to talk to the media about homeless issues," he
In 1996, during a vacation he
attended a New Evangelization of the Americas media conference in Miami.
crossed paths there with Father Raymond, who would become Family Theater Productions'
leader in 2000.
knew Father Raymond, but he
was surprised to see him there.
"At the conference, I saw how much interest there was (in the use of media in evangelization) and what was happening in media regarding the Church, and the great potential for even more use of media on behalf of the Church," Father Guffey