A real priest playing a chaplain on a cruise liner for a trip – that was the wish of the production company when approaching me to join them discovering the beauties of the Black Sea on a trip on the MS Artania. Not more was said during the time before we left Venice two days ago and one would think that the filming would concentrate on the priests obvious duties: the prayer services.
But that was not what the film crew had in mind. Their request was and is to add a religious figure on land during land excursion to let him explain some landmarks in more depth to the persons they accompanied on the trip. The priest as a sort of guarantee for a bit of quality and in-dept information in a reality series normally focusing on emotions and stories more on the surface of life.
I found this approach first strange, then more and more appealing, because at the end that is the task priests should have: being able to add more quality and more sense to normal life, being able to read the signs of time and individual life and to assist in translating life experience into a deeper sphere of understanding. Touching those layers in our existence which are fundamental for understanding and living life to the fullest without being in the lead – connecting the dots in history pointing to what lays ahead in the future and is also represented in this particular moment in time – and all this in a serving role, not overwhelming the persons concerned. So not the leading role but being a supporting actor is the part we as priests are called to perform often in life.
I guess there is more to meditate about during this trip.