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30-Minute Video Will Promote the Pope’s Visit

Times Staff Writer

When Pope John Paul II celebrates Mass at Candlestick Park here Sept. 18, Father Tom Daly will be at his side. He will be one of several hundred lay and clergymen giving Communion to an audience of 70,000. But it will not be the first time he catches the public eye.

Daly, a 27-year-old priest at Our Lady of Loretto parish in Novato, appears in “America Prepares for the Pope,” a 30-minute video produced for the U.S. Catholic Conference. In several weeks it will be distributed to Catholic dioceses across the country. The dioceses will offer it to local television stations for broadcast starting Sept. 3, the same week when it will be aired nationally by the Catholic Television Network of America.

The young priest--who is shown in a playground with children--tells viewers that he chose the priesthood as his vocation because “the payoff is tremendous.” Daly said in an interview that he discovered that being a priest could be his “way of assisting people on their spiritual journey to God.”

Video Previews Themes

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The video previews the theme for each of pontiff’s stops during his 10-day papal visit to the United States, said Candy Meyers of KPIX-TV, a CBS affiliate in San Francisco that produced the video.

The papal theme in San Francisco is “lay and religious life.” Together with Angela Simonetti, a 25-year-old novice with the Sisters of Mercy in Burlingame, Daly was selected for the video to symbolize the young people who are entering the priesthood and religious life, Meyers said.

Simonetti is seen on the videotape introducing Catholic education in the second-grade classroom at St. Paul of the Shipwreck primary school in San Francisco, where she was an assistant teacher at the time the video was produced.

In Los Angeles, where one of the themes is mass communications, the pontiff will meet with leaders of the news and entertainment world to discuss not only the media’s power, but also their moral responsibility, Meyers said. The Pope’s stop in Los Angeles is introduced on the video by Father Ellwood Kieser, a television producer with the Paulist Fathers of Los Angeles.

‘Look at Issues’

The program “does not shy away from controversies,” said Barbara Lopez, who will produce KPIX’s coverage of the Pope’s visit to San Francisco.

“It takes a look at issues like the loss of priests and nuns in the U.S., ecumenism and the problems of Catholic Native Americans,” she said. “It is a much harder piece than might be expected.” Lopez was not involved in the production of the video.

Father Miles Riley, spokesman for the San Francisco archdiocese, said the tape is designed to raise consciousness and enthusiasm for the visit.

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For Daly, the visit is an overwhelming sign of the Pope’s concern and love for the American people. But he said he hopes that the Pope will also look at some of the problems facing American Catholics.

Simonetti said the tour is an opportunity for the Pope to see the diversity among his American followers.

“The Pope can only get the divine inspiration he needs to decide on the church’s doctrine when he hears all sides,” she said. “Opposition to certain aspects of his doctrines is not necessarily disrespectful.”

The tape is narrated by Charlton Heston in the English version and by Ricardo Montalban in the Spanish version.

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