The English version is titled God’s Doorman: Saint André of Montreal, while the French version is called Portier de Dieu: Saint André de Montréal.
“We’re also looking at why he’s relevant for people today — especially young people,” said Mary Rose Bacani, producer of God’s Doorman.
“Young people have a lot to say about somebody who’s authentic and somebody who’s so simple and doesn’t rely on titles, money and fame to live a life worthy of being held up.”
But although the Oratory plays an important part in the documentaries, the scope of filming reached far beyond Montreal. It also took the filmmakers to Oregon, Indiana and New Hampshire in the United States and London, Ont. And filming was done in Rome without the filmmakers present.
Some of the people interviewed include Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, archbishop of Montreal, Françoise Deroy-Pineau, one of Brother André’s biographers, and Fr. Benoit Lacroix, a Dominican priest, among numerous others.
Filming wasn’t without its challenges, Bacani said. The shooting in Montreal, for example, was all done in a period of 10 days.
“The biggest challenge in Montreal was the language barrier,” said Bacani, who isn’t fluent in French.
Despite the ups and downs, she stayed focused on making sure the story was told in a way that Brother André would want.
“It was not so much focusing on him and how great he is but on drawing people to God and the wonders He can do with a simple man and his little life. That gives me great comfort to have worked on this project.”
Lacroix said that Brother André was a classic example of a French Canadian in the second half of the 19th century, something that gave Lacroix a strong connection with his religious heritage as a Catholic raised in Quebec.
“He’s really rooted in the faith of our ancestors. He inherited a special devotion to the Holy Family, in particular St. Joseph... and that heritage is still present today,” he said. “It has to be transmitted and passed on and I believe through him we can do that.”
In both the English and French versions, Lacroix said emphasis is put on the importance of the lay people who helped him.
“It’s important in Quebec to remind them that, yes, it was Brother André’s project but it was through lay people that (St. Joseph’s Oratory) was built, otherwise, it would have never happened.”
Salt+Light’s coverage begins on Oct. 16 (all times ET) at 7 p.m. with evening Mass from the Crypt of St. Joseph’s Oratory (in French) followed at 8:45 with broadcast of a candlelight prayer vigil. Portier de Dieu: Saint André de Montréal premieres at 9:30 p.m.
On Oct. 17, the day of canonization, the live Mass will be broadcast at 3:45 a.m. in French, and again in English at 10 a.m. At 9 p.m. will be the premiere of God’s Doorman.
On Oct. 30, the Thanksgiving Mass at 2 p.m. from Montreal will be carried live.