This morning in Rome, Irish Film Director Campbell Miller presented His Holiness Pope Francis with a copy of the film Bravery Under Fire during the weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square.
Campbell Miller said: “It’s a great honour to present the Holy Father with the story of Fr Willie Doyle who was also a Jesuit priest who gave his life serving others in the First World War.
Fr Doyle was born in Dublin and served as a chaplain in the British Army during World War I.
Director Campbell Miller said “It is a tremendous honour to present the story of Fr Willie Doyle to His Holiness this morning.”
“The film tells a remarkable story of faith, bravery and selflessness. We hope it also advances Fr Doyle’s cause for sainthood. Pope Francis opened the way to declare as saints those who freely choose to give their lives for others in situations that they know will lead their certain death..”
The film will have a special screening in the Vatican this Friday to an invited audience of senior clergy and Catholic leaders.
“Fr Doyle made repeated forays into the battlefield and No Man’s land to give the last rites to the wounded and dying. Ironically for a man who sought Christian burial for battlefield casualties he lost his own life trying to save others and his body was never recovered. He was revered by Soldiers in the Irish 16th Division but also by the men in the largely Protestant 36th Division.”
‘For the Vatican showing the assembled guest list we feel does justice to the memory of Fr Willie Doyle.’
The docudrama has already screened to a worldwide audience on EWTN and had its Irish premiere in Mr Miller’s home town Newcastle, Co Down in August.
The production was filmed on location in Ireland and Belgium with trench scenes painstakingly recreated and filmed in the depths of winter to attempt to replicate the harrowing conditions on the front line.
Campbell Miller says, “We can only imagine the horror experienced as Fr Doyle ministered in the mud, decay, destruction and terror of unexploded shells and incoming fire.”
One spellbinding and heartrending account describes the Jesuit offering mass for the dead surrounded by the unburied corpses of soldiers, comrades he had served with.
The film screens in the Vatican On Friday in the Filmoteca.