Hillary Mast

Hillary Mast

Hillary Mast is a graduate from Franciscan University at Steubenville and formerly served as opinion editor at Catholic News Agency.

Articles by Hillary Mast

For synod auditors, God's plan for marriage best taught by living it out

Oct 14, 2014 / 11:04 am

The American married couple who addressed the Synod of Bishops said daily life is where they first saw God’s plan for families revealed and that they hope to equip parents to be primary educators of the faith.

IUDs for teens? Endangering, not empowering, docs say

Oct 12, 2014 / 05:35 am

Medical professionals blasted the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recent recommendation that long term contraceptives are the best way for teen girls to avoid pregnancy, saying that it sends an unhealthy message.  

Reese Witherspoon says latest film inspires with Christian hope

Oct 3, 2014 / 03:09 am

Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon stars in a new film about the Lost Boys of Sudan, which she says features strong Christian messages of faith in God and perseverance in the face of hardship.    

Catholic women's conference refreshes moms, forges friendships

Sep 18, 2014 / 03:22 am

A pair of Catholic authors has found a new way to give mothers some time off while helping break the social isolation that can sometimes come with modern parenting: throw a weekend-long party just for moms.  

FOCUS broadens missionary outreach with 'Digital Campus'

Sep 11, 2014 / 03:41 am

With missionary teams on 100 college campuses across the continental U.S., the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) has reached an impressive number of students in its 16-year history.  

Iraqi refugees working to help each other survive

Aug 29, 2014 / 08:33 am

Christians and other religious minorities who have fled areas in Iraq that have fallen under Islamic State control are now helping one another to survive as refugees, an aid worker said.  

Chinese leaders intensify push for 'national' Christianity

Aug 15, 2014 / 07:02 am

The Chinese government recently announced that it will increase its efforts to promote and develop a national brand of Christian theology.

Mississippi abortion ruling raises questions of women's health

Aug 1, 2014 / 02:42 am

A federal appeals court has drawn criticism for blocking a 2012 Mississippi law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

'Amazing Parish' movement unites clergy, laity in renewal

Jul 29, 2014 / 01:06 am

A new movement seeking to unite the faithful and their pastors in the formation of thriving parishes has seen a wide scope of interest throughout the U.S. in the time since it was started little more than a year ago.

Lives of the saints model Catholic social teaching in new book

Jul 22, 2014 / 10:59 am

Dignity of the human person, solidarity and care for creation are just a few topics author Brandon Vogt discusses in his new book, “Saints and Social Justice: A Guide to Changing the World.”

Global network seeks to unite head, heart in charity work

Jul 8, 2014 / 03:01 am

PovertyCure, a global organization that unites like-minded charities, is working to change the dialogue about charitable aid while addressing poverty worldwide.

Students inspired by John Paul II to revitalize college town

May 14, 2014 / 03:06 am

A group of college classmates have set out on a mission to revamp their university town in Ohio after learning more about Saint John Paul II and Catholic social teaching.

John Paul II remembered for influential love of youth, nature

Apr 26, 2014 / 08:11 am

Pope John Paul II’s love for young people and nature was based on a profound understanding of the link that both bear to God, say organizers of a Colorado summer camp named after the late pontiff.

'Mary of Nazareth' offers beautiful portrayal of the Holy Family

Nov 25, 2013 / 00:00 am

As we grow closer to the season of Advent, thoughts naturally tend toward the nativity scene. What Christmas would be complete without the figures of Mary and Joseph gathered around the Christ Child in a manger?In a similar manner, ‘Mary of Nazareth’ provides viewers with a glimpse into the lives of all those who make up the scene around the manger.With striking scenery and gorgeous costumes, the film depicts a perhaps more colorful portrayal of Mary's life while at the same time remaining true to the overall message of the Gospel.Like a child getting to hear the story of how his parents met, ‘Mary of Nazareth’ paints viewers a beautiful image of the sacrificial love between Mary and Joseph that built a foundation for the loving home in which our Savior was raised.One of the most refreshing aspects of the film is the treatment of Mary and Joseph’s courtship. The film shows a young couple very much in love with one another and with the Lord. Rather than painting Joseph as an elderly man to indicate his guardianship of Mary’s purity, he is portrayed as a handsome young man giving the idea that Mary was just as much a keeper of Joseph’s purity as he was Mary’s. When Mary accepts Joseph’s marriage offer, we see just how much care and attention he puts into building a home for them. Day by day, he works to build the walls and roof that will shelter his beloved bride and their eventual family.However, when Joseph receives news from Mary that she is pregnant after her long trip to visit her cousin Elizabeth, his disappointment and heartbreak are apparent. He takes his anger out on the home that he worked so carefully to build for his new wife until his hands are bleeding. It is only when the angel appears to him in a dream instructing him to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife that he seems to recall Mary’s instructions before her trip: Do not put faith in me, but in God.Although the movie follows Mary’s life, we learn more about the people she serves than we do her. Throughout the film she is instructing friends and family to look to God for answers; not to her or their own human understanding. When Joachim and Ann struggle to understand their daughter’s nonsensical explanation for her pregnancy, she leads them to a deeper level of faith by simply stating, “Nothing is impossible with God.”A theme that is seen throughout the film is how even in her deepest struggles, Mary gives herself over to God’s will, not her own. One of these deeply touching moments comes when she prays over her “sleeping” Son for God to allow her to suffer in his place. However, in the end she echoes her Son’s words that he will speak in the Garden of Gethsemane that not her own will, but God’s, be done.As Jesus grows we see Mary’s concern – but not despair – grow as well. She is the first to know that her Son will suffer from early on, but it is as if she realizes what the depth of his suffering will be with each passing moment.The film is perfect for the start of Advent, but since it serves as a kind of visual meditation spanning from Mary’s childhood to Christ’s Passion, it’s appropriate for any part of the liturgical year.To learn more about the film and to find or host showings in your area, visit the official website, maryfilm.com.