'Catholicism' Series in Translation

Father Robert Barron’s Catholicism series is already being hailed as a major documentary in this country. EWTN is airing six parts of the series, and more than 100 PBS stations across the country, from New York to Los Angeles, are airing four parts of the 10-part series.

Now Catholicism will be broadcast in Germany.

Nanette Noffsinger, the project’s and Father Barron’s public-relations representative, told me the release dates for the German edition haven’t been set yet, but German producer and filmmaker Christian Peschken is busy helping Father Barron’s ministry, Word on Fire, get Catholicism ready for the German people.

Peschken has been doing a lot of German-language adaptations of programs for EWTN’s new 24-7 channel in Germany, such as The Friar series and several of Marcus Grodi’s Journey Home programs.

With Peschken’s other talents — he’s a trained actor and voice-over artist — Word on Fire Ministries hired him to adapt and dub the series into German. In each of the 60-minute episodes, he will speak for Father Barron.

“In a program like this, subtitles can distract from the message. You may miss the beauty of the photography and the locations,” Peschken said. “All these beautiful international locations provide context for Father Barron’s commentary. So, if you have to focus on the subtitle text, you may miss the fullness of the message.”

“When I read the text and speak in German, I do this as a German native,” he said. “Many portions of the text take little adjustments to make the German audience know what Father Barron is communicating.”

He’s completed or is currently in production for several TV projects for EWTN’s German station and in pre-production for a pro-life message video, I Am the Unborn.  He’s also working on a unique TV news talk show called Non-Negotiable.

After working in TV and radio in Germany for 14 years, he came to California in 1989 and became executive producer of films, working with Rod Steiger, Martin Sheen and F. Murray Abraham.

In 2006, Peschken came across Grodi’s The Journey Home, which eventually led him and his wife into the Church. Leaving Los Angeles behind, he turned his talents from secular to Catholic-based film and TV production.

Peschken said there’s an extra benefit in all these adaptations. “I even learn more about Catholicism from all my assignments,” he said. “This is how God works.”

He is thrilled to be part of this production: “I believe Father Barron brings to the point what Catholicism, the splendor of truth, really is — in a way that is easy to understand for Catholics, but also for people outside the Catholic faith.

“I dare to say, as a producer working with visuals and images all the time, that the Catholicism series sets a higher standard for how to present the Catholic worldview in the secular arena.”