Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

11/23/2011 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Best-selling Author Talks About His Latest Non-fiction Story Premiering on the Hallmark Hall of Fame

Challenging. Engaging. Entertaining. Thought provoking. These are just a few words the described my impression of Mitch Albom's new Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, "Have a Little Faith," which premiers Sunday, November 27 on ABC.

Highlights

By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/23/2011 (2 years ago)

Published in TV

Keywords: Have a Little Faith, Martin Landau, Bradley Whitford, Laurence Fishburne


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Several years after his famous "Tuesdays with Morrie," Mitch Albom's latest non-fiction book "Have a Little Faith" brings two very different yet related worlds together, Judaism and Protestant Christianity. The Hallmark Hall of Fame production of this amazing story premiers Sunday, November 27 at 9:00 p.m. ET on the ABC Television Network.

The story is an eight-year journey that weaves together two distinct events that overlapped in the life of author and journalist Mitch Albom ("The Five People You Meet in Heaven," "For One More Day"), portrayed in the movie by Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip").

While back visiting his native New Jersey, Albom encounters the rabbi of the synagogue he had attended as a child, Rabbi Albert  Lewis (Academy Award winner Martin Landau, "Ed Wood," "Entourage"). "The Reb," as Albom calls him, asks Albom to write his eulogy. Over the course of several years, the author regularly visits his former spiritual leader to learn more about this interesting man.

He also meets Henry Covington (Emmy and Tony Award winner and Oscar nominee Laurence Fishburne, "What's Love Got to Do with It," "Two Trains Running"), a Detroit preacher who overcame - along with his wife, Annette (Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose, "Dreamgirls," "Caroline, Or Change") - a life mired in drugs and crime.

This reverend-in-recovery was the pastor of a small congregation in a broken-down building called I Am My Brother's Keeper Church. They not only provided food for the homeless but also offered the facility as a place -- on the church floor -- where they could sleep.

As a sports columnist for the Detroit News and city-celebrity, Albom has started several charities, most of which are focused on helping the homeless in the Motor City. It was through his non-profit, S.A.Y. Detroit (Super All Year Detroit), a group of non-profit charities dedicated to helping improve the lives of Detroit's most needy, that he became friends with Henry.

"Part of my job," he explained, "was to go to places and see what they needed. I found I Am My Brother's Keeper Church and went in. When I saw Henry I thought he was the janitor!"

S.A.Y. Detroit began through a story Albom read, in February of 2006, about the homeless in Detroit would be given a special Super Bowl "party" to keep them off the streets for the big weekend, but would be put back on the streets come Monday morning. The story really disturbed him so much that he wrote a piece calling upon the city to do as much for the homeless the rest of the winter as they were willing to do for a weekend. He even spent a night in a shelter to call attention to the issue.

In "Have a Little Faith," these two events in Albom's life - talking with "The Reb" and working with Henry - are woven into a heart-warming story of faith.

Rabbi Albert Lewis passed away on February 10, 2008 and Albom did, in fact, deliver his eulogy.

Lewis, described by Albom as "the singing rabbi," was a leading American Conservative rabbi, scholar, and author in his own right. He also served as President of the Rabbinical Assembly (RA), the international organization of Conservative rabbis; and Vice-President of The World Council of Synagogues.

"The Reb" even served as an international correspondent for The Catholic Star Herald during his sabbatical year in Israel just after the "Six Day War" of 1967.

According to a Wikipedia account, Lewis promised his readers of "honest and objective reporting, and not propaganda," stating that he would "try to present the feel or mood of Israel as accurately as possible."

While in Egypt he used press credentials from the Catholic paper, and traveled as Dr. Albert Lewis. He was then able to journey into areas where it would quite dangerous for an American Jew or rabbi, so soon after the end of the Six-Day War.

The rabbi's chats drew Albom back into the faith he'd left years before. As a part of the eulogy, the author wrote, "I didn't want to eulogize you. I was afraid. I felt a congregant could never eulogize his leader.

"But I realize now that thousands of congregants will eulogize you today, in their car rides home, over the dinner table. A eulogy is no more than a summation of memories, and we will never forget you, because we cannot forget you, because we will miss you every day.

To imagine a world without you in it is to imagine a world with a little less God in it, and yet, because God is not a diminishing resource, I cannnot believe that."

I asked Mitch Albom at what point he thought, "I've got to write about this."

"Not until I got involved with Henry," he replied. "I was already visiting Rabbi Lewis when I when I was writing other books after 'Tuesdays with Morrie." In fact, I gave a copy of the galleys for 'The Five People You Meet in Haven' to the Rabbi."

What intrigued Albom, after meeting Henry Covington, was the idea that he was involved in two different walks and two different faiths.

"I don't believe anyone has ever written about two faiths; about how they can look different but still be the same."

The author, who also wrote the screenplay, was delighted with the cast that they were able to assemble for the production.

"We were very lucky that the people at the top of the list for the key roles (Fishburne, Landau and Whitford) wanted to do this movie. Bradley Whitford was perfectly cast to go between both of those places."

The promotional material for "Have a Little Faith," describe the movie as "a story about life's purpose - losing belief and finding it again - and about the divine spark inside all of us."

As the author said to me, "No matter what age or where you are, you can always come back."

For Mitch Albom, however, there is also another takeaway, "We are more alike than we are different," he said. "At the core we are very similar, committed to helping other people."

"Have a Little Faith," Albom's first non-fiction book since "Tuesdays with Morrie," was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller, remaining on the list for more than seven months, and was published in March in paperback. Both editions are by Hyperion.

Brent Shields ("Beyond the Blackboard," "The Lost Valentine"), Mitch Albom and Jon Avnet are executive producers. John Avnet also is the director. "Mitch Albom's Have a Little Faith" is from Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions, Inc.

Don't view this movie expecting a theological exposition. Mitch Albom is a wonderful storyteller who shows us the similarities that exist in people of faith, no matter their differences in theology. Despite these differences, both men practice the care of souls in the service of God.

-----
 
Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More TV

We don't believe it: Confidence in TV news at an all-time low, according to Gallup Watch

Image of Conducted earlier this month, only 10 percent said they had

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The talking heads keep talking on news programs, but very few Americans are giving credence to the news media. According to the latest Gallup Poll, confidence in TV news is at an all-time low. Only 18 percent of the Americans surveyed expressed either a "great ... continue reading


Wow! 'It Takes a Church' provides refreshing take on matchmaking!

Image of

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Game Show Network (GSN) is airing a remarkable new show hosted by Grammy-nominated singer, Natalie Grant called, "It Takes a Church." It's a matchmaking show where each church pairs an eligible bachelor and bachelorette after vetting them through prayer, discussion ... continue reading


'Duck Dynasty' pastor exhorts clergy 'to realize we're a part of the body of Christ that's worldwide' Watch

Image of Alan Robertson admitted that was as the sole Robertson male without a beard, he is somewhat of a misfit in the family. He said his family is grateful to have the cable show as a platform to share

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Alan Robertson, best known as the beardless son of reality TV show "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson, is a pastor who officiated his parents' re-commitment ceremony. In his latest appearance he is exhorting that other pastors should promote Christian ... continue reading


Is it okay for Catholics to watch Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey? Watch

Image of Neil deGrasse Tyson is the host of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Some Christians who espouse a certain approach to creation have grabbed their share of the spotlight by criticizing Neil deGrasse Tyson's reboot of the Carl Sagan classic "Cosmos." This brand of Creationism is in an apologetic overdrive led by Answers in Genesis ... continue reading


WATCH as steely-eyed Judge Judy turns on spectator! Watch

Image of Judge Judy, star of one of the most popular reality based small claims court, snapped at an audience member after he laughed during a case.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's inappropriate to laugh in a court room, even if that court is not home to the traditional solemnity and dullness associated with American small claims court. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - One unlucky spectator found this out after being removed from the ... continue reading


Stephen Colbert to succeed David Letterman as host of 'The Late Show' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Longtime "Late Show" TV host David Letterman had announced that he would retire sometime in 2015. CBS wasted little time in announcing his replacement: Comedian Stephen Colbert has signed a five-year contract to host the late night variety show. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'Wheel of Fortune' winner 'most amazing solve in my 30 [plus] years on the show' Pat Sajak declares Watch

Image of Vanna White, the studio audience and viewers at home were stunned.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

TV game show favorite "Wheel of Fortune" is very much like a showbiz version of "Hangman," where contestants must fill in phrases by correctly guessing letters. The letters. Contestant Emil De Leon correctly guess the phrase - "new baby buggy" with only TWO ... continue reading


Flight 370 story provides boon for cable TV news networks Watch

Image of Lack of new and relevant information about the missing Malaysian flight has drained much relevancy out of current TV reporting, some say.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The missing Malaysian jet flight, or Flight 370 continues to perplex and fascinate the world. However, without any recent developments and a lot of theories being proffered, some are arguing that there is no news to be found in this line of news, and ... continue reading


Cable television subscriptions take a major tumble Watch

Image of With all due respect, there may be another factor behind pay-TV's decline. Read the final paragraph.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

I recent statistics hold true, the era of the U.S. pay-television market is past its prime. The number of Americans who pay for TV through cable, satellite or fiber services fell by more than a quarter of a million in 2013. If this trend continues, 2012 may ... continue reading


'Comedian' Bill Maher blasphemes AGAIN: God in 'Noah' is a 'psychotic mass murderer' who 'drowns babies' Watch

Image of Bill Maher has been highly critical of religion and views it as highly destructive. However, he has been known to reject the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While he rejects the label of "atheist," "comedian" Bill Maher is upfront with his disdain for all forms of religion. He managed to offend Christian, Jewish and Muslims with his line about God as depicted in the new movie, "Noah."  He told his HBO "Real ... continue reading


All TV News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
10 A disaster for me, mother, that you bore me to be ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
2 rescue me from evil-doers, from men of violence ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-46
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2014 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter