Franciscan’s Exc!te Team, in collaboration with Carmel Communications, sponsored a pre-screening event for the upcoming film “I Can Only Imagine” in the Finnegan Fieldhouse on Sunday night.
Set to be released in theaters on March 16 of this year, the film is based on the life of Bart Millard, the lead singer of MercyMe. “I Can Only Imagine” tells the true story behind the song that goes by the same name. By watching the film, those in attendance received a glimpse into the conception of the hit MercyMe song and the long journey leading to its creation—a journey of faith, loss and forgiveness.
As students and faculty awaited the premiere, Lisa Wheeler, founder and president of Carmel Communications, introduced the film. She shared a few words about her Catholic media agency and addressed why it decided to bring this particular film to Franciscan. While Carmel Communications was deciding which movie would be best to screen at the university, Wheeler explained that this movie immediately came to mind because of the famous song.
“We are excited to bring it here,” said Wheeler, “because we all know the song and the lyrics, but now we get to learn more about the story behind the song and the lead singer of MercyMe.”
Attendees were asked to remain after the movie to hear some very exciting news. After giving some closing remarks on the movie, Lisa Wheeler announced the next movie Carmel Communications will be bringing to Franciscan University: “Paul, Apostle of Christ” starring Catholic actor Jim Caviezel, who will accompany the movie to campus.
While most students have heard the famous song, not too many know about the inspiration that propelled the lyrics. Junior Emilija Lapas said, “This has always been one of my favorite songs. Now, I have a newfound love for it.”
Now that the movie is being released to the public, the makers of “I Can Only Imagine” and Christian media companies such as Carmel Communications hope to use the inspiring story as an evangelization tool and a witness to the transformative power of God.
Junior Rachel Lavallee affirmed the film’s ability to reach into the secular culture, saying, “It’s a good gateway for discussion. For non-believers, it leaves them asking how (the songwriter’s) father could change and how he could forgive his father.”
With one of its central themes being healing through forgiveness, Lapas said that she “appreciated how it emphasized the need of not only forgiving others, but yourself as well.”
The ending of the movie showcased the popular song and unfolded the message that one is never too far from receiving God’s mercy. Junior Joseph Palmer was especially impressed by the last part of the movie. He said, “The authenticity and relatability were really impactful.”
Carmel Communications, along with Franciscan’s Exc!te, hope to bring more films to campus in the future.