Desire of the Everlasting Hills
Here are three intimate and candid portraits of Catholics who try to navigate the waters of self-understanding, faith, and homosexuality:
Dan, a gregarious artist who spent his life hiding a deep sense of isolation from those who loved him;
Rilene, a successful businesswoman who realized that twenty-five years with her partner did not provide the fulfillment she had hoped for;
and Paul, an international model who, after a life of self-indulgence, found grace in the last place he expected.
Cast & Credits
Cast: Dan, Rilene, and Paul
About The Director
Executive Producer: Fr. Paul Check
Fr. Paul N. Check was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT in 1997. At the direction of Bishop Lori in 2002, he established a Courage chapter in his diocese for which he continues to serve as chaplain. He holds an STB from the Gregorian University and an STL from the University of the Holy Cross, both in Rome. He teaches fundamental moral theology and sexual and medical ethics to seminarians and permanent deacon candidates in the Bridgeport Diocese. Beginning in 1999, he has taught the two-week course in moral theology in the “Gift of Faith” syllabus for Blessed Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. Father Check graduated from Rice University, TX in 1981 with a BA in history. He served as an officer in the US Marine Corps for nine years prior to entering the seminary. In 2008, he was selected to succeed Fr John Harvey as the Executive Director of Courage International, at the request of Fr Harvey and with the approval of Bishop Lori and Cardinal Dolan. He spends much of his time traveling and making presentations to clergy about the Church’s teaching about homosexuality and her pastoral response.
You design your life. We all design our lives.
So says Rilene, one of the figures in the documentary that I hope you are about to watch. Rilene’s insight is profound: The choices that we make change us – they don’t merely change the world around us, they change us. Her insight is as humble and courageous as it is profound, because while it acknowledges freedom—a gift we all treasure—it also acknowledges responsibility.
We can’t design our lives in every respect. For instance, most of us will not make careers as professional musicians or athletes, no matter how appealing we might find such prospects, and no matter how strong our desires. Talent, timing, relationships – all these things limit our power. Some things lie beyond our control, and it takes humility and courage to accept this fact.
It also takes humility and courage to face certain questions about our lives. One such question is, “How do I know if I am designing my life well? By what standard can I come to a conclusion?” This question is closely linked with another, “What is the purpose of my life? What does it mean to be fulfilled and at peace?” And these are the central questions around which the film Desire of the Everlasting Hills turns. The film does not claim to answer these questions completely. They have been mulled over, talked over, even fought over, for as long as humanity has found its home in this world. Anyone who has ever thought about whether he or she has “done the right thing,” has started to think about these questions.
One way we might approach the subject of whether or not we are designing our lives well is to think about the people we admire and why we admire them. If “to admire” means something other than “to envy,” if it means that we value someone’s self-forgetfulness, someone’s generosity of heart, someone’s sacrifice, then we may have the beginnings of a way to resolve the question of a well-lived and well-designed life.
I admire the three people whom you will see in this movie—Rilene, Dan and Paul. I admire them because of their humility and courage. I realize—and more important, they realize—that some viewers may be troubled, offended, or even angered by their stories. No one involved in making this film wishes to cause anyone distress. On the contrary. But if we are free to design our lives, then each of us will have a story, and whether or not this story is welcome, it deserves respect. It deserves respect not only for the unique mind and heart the story reveals, but also for what it may contain for others.
Rilene, Dan and Paul do not claim that their stories are just like the stories of all other people – or even of any other people. Yet do their stories share unifying themes? Yes, they do. So has this film been made for a purpose? Yes, it has. Indeed, it has been made for a dual purpose, because the film takes up not just one of the questions I mentioned, but both of them: What it means to design one’s life well, and how to know when we have really found peace and fulfillment. For in the end, finding peace and fulfillment is what the precious gift of freedom is for.
–Fr. Paul N. Check, Executive Director, Courage, Int.
Category: Feature-Length Documentary
Premiere Status: South Florida Premiere
Runtime: 1 Hour 3 Minutes
Film Completion Year: 2014
Thursday, October 15th, 2015
Cinépolis Coconut Grove
CocoWalk, 3015 Grand Avenue, Miami, FL 33133