The combined parishes of St. Mary and St. Juan Diego in Chandler are one of four parishes featured in a new documentary released this week from American Media. “People of God” shows the different faith experiences and challenges facing Catholic parishes from across the country, illuminating their diversity and unity. It’s available now exclusively to America’s digital and print subscribers.

The film aims to capture a portrait of the Catholic Church in the United States at this particular moment in time, illuminating the diversity and the unity of those who call themselves Catholic in this country. The documentary highlights four Catholic parishes in different regions of the country and the unique challenges facing each one, such as closing churches in the Midwest; the rise of a digital community in the Northeast; the growing number of Hispanic Catholics and the challenges of cultural integration in the Southwest; and parishes grappling with intensifying climate crises in the South.

The project seeks to start a conversation among Catholics in the United States today about their various backgrounds, lived experiences of the faith and the unique challenges facing parish life. Through the stories of four different parishes woven together, viewers will experience the diversity and richness of the Catholic faith in this country. Almost every Catholic belongs to a parish or is familiar with parish life. Viewers will see themselves and their own lived parish experience reflected in some aspects of the film while being introduced to ways of living the faith and pastoral challenges that are unfamiliar yet real to other Catholics.

Participating Parishes and Dioceses:

  • Northeast: St. Cecilia’s Parish in the Archdiocese of Boston, Mass.
  • Southwest: St. Mary Church and St. Juan Diego Church in the Diocese of Phoenix, Ariz.
  • South: Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the Diocese of Houma Thibodaux, La.
  • Midwest: St. John the Evangelist Parish and the Antigo area churches in the Diocese of Green Bay, Wis.

“We like to look at surveys and trends to better understand Catholics in the United States today. This documentary is about the real people behind the data, living their faith differently and facing unique struggles as a parish community. Every Catholic watching this documentary should feel represented in some way and challenged in others. We want to start a conversation about the state of parish life today.” said Sebastian Gomes, director of the film.

“People of God” is available now to America’s digital and print subscribers. Watch the trailer.


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