Trailer for Scenes from a Parish
James Rutenbeck's modest, old-fashioned, simply shot documentary is exactly the right way to tell a story of old-time verities and virtues, daily life in a Catholic parish in Lawrence where the several priests are good guys, and where many of the parishioners struggle to put Christian charity into practice.
You don't need to be religious to be moved by the spirit of Father Paul O'Brien, head pastor, a Harvard graduate who finds his calling amid the unemployed, and barely employed, in the poorest city by far in Massachusetts.
Yes, there are problems at St. Patrick's: drugs, alcoholism, homelessness, and some resentment of the Hispanic newcomers from the aging Irish. But there's hope, too, and parishioners turn their lives around, because Father Paul is an exemplary priest, and a movie hero as well.