A Search for Faith, Family, and Miracles
by Justin Calanoso

Posts Tagged ‘Michael Frierson’


Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Shot in Calabria, Italy, by Michael Frierson.

Happy birthday, Gaetano

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Today is best remembered as romantic holiday named for St. Valentine, a Roman martyr who lived a few hundred years after Christ and about whom very little is known (except that he died on Feb. 14). I prefer to remember this as the birthday of a saint — St. Gaetano Catanoso, born Feb. 14, 1879 in the village of Chorio in southern Italy. Happy birthday, Gaetano. (The video here was shot in Calabria last March by Michael Frierson, a film professor at UNC-Greensboro)

The Family Cemetary

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Filmed in Calabria, Italy, just above the village of Chorio by Michael Frierson.

New video: Making a Saint

Friday, October 17th, 2008

The process of making this video came in two parts. First, Micheael Frierson, a film maker at UNC-Greensboro, filmed me doing a stand up in front of the cathedral in Reggio. I had to just about shout over the noise of the traffic rushing by on the street. There’s a short transition related to the canonization and then, presto, there I am in Rome! This segment was shot on the last night of our stay in Italy last March. It was filmed around midnight and St. Peter’s Square was all but deserted. Laurelyn and Martha, Michael’s wife, were holding a light reflector and boom mic. We were all gibby from a late, wine-soaked dinner and tired from a long train ride that day from Reggio to Rome. We must’ve done 50 takes, laughing through most of them. Somehow, Michael found a take that worked well enough to use.

New Video: Pentidattilo

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

I am thrilled to able to post a new video (with a few more to come!). This one gives you a glimpse of Pentidatillo, a hillside village above Melito di Porto Salvo at the very bottom of Italy. This short video opens with a view from Pentidattilo of Mount Etna, which lies across the Ioanian Sea in Sicily.

This village is where Padre Gaetano Catanoso was sent as a young priest to lead his first parish in 1904, a year after my grandfather emigrated to America. Pentidattilo was a rough and hopeless place at the time. The young priest faced enormous challenges, including Mafia threats inside the church. He served there for 17 years, before being called down to Reggio.

Pentidattilo has been abandond since the 1950s when there were fears that earthquakes would cause a rock slide and crush the homes. It never happened. The European Union is now working to restore some of the homes. A private effort is underway to restore the church. It’s an incredible place to visit.

This video was shot and produced my Michael Frierson, a friend and filmmaker at UNC-Greensboro.

The Family Cemetery (in Calabria)

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

This video was shot on a hill above Chorio, the Calabrian village where my grandfather, and the saint, were born in the late 1800s. It was shot and produced by Michael Frierson, a film professor at UNC-Greensboro.

The Saint’s Room

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

If you ever travel to Reggio Calabria, you will of course want to see the world-famous Riace bronzes in the national museum downtown. But you will also want to travel uphill to the neighborhood Santo Spirito to the church of Padre Gaetano Catanoso. On the ground floor, just inside the courtyard, are two rooms — both of which he used, one of which he slept in and died in — preserved to honor the memory of the saint.

This video was shot and produced in Reggio by Michael Frierson, documentary film professor at UNC-Grreensboro

Sacred relics

Monday, June 16th, 2008

This video on sacred Catholic relics offers elements of faith and mircles, shot on location mostly in Reggio Calabria and Chorio in Italy, and also in Greensboro, N.C. Surprising scenes at the end. UNC-Greensboro film professor Michael Frierson filmed and produced.

New video: The First Miracle

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

In 1944, during World War II, Tony Catanoso, my uncle, went AWOL from his Army post in Palermo, Sicily, to search for his aunt, Maria Catanoso, in Calabria. There was just one problem. He had no idea where she lived. He deemed his finding her several days later “the first miracle” of Padre Gaetano Catanoso, who wasn’t even a saint yet! This video was shot in Chorio, Italy, and produced by Michael Frierson.

Please see Michael’s other videos on the Multimedia page here.

The Saint’s Room

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Hi. I’m Justin Catanoso, and I am excited to share this video in advance of my book’s North American release next week. The video was shot two months ago in Reggio Calabria in southern Italy at the church of Padre Gaetano Catanoso, my cousin the saint. It was shot by my good friend, Michael Frierson, a documentary filmmaker and professor at UNC-Greensboro. I will share more video with you as we produce them.

I hope to use this blog to discuss the thoughts, issues and emotions raised in my book regarding faith, family, immigration, Catholicism and miracles.