More than 200 people packed a Cape Cod theatre last Friday to view a screening of the movie “The Sojourners”.  Produced by award-winning filmmaker Steven Scaffidi, the documentary captures the experiences of the filmmaker and his son as they chronicled a 10-day youth pilgrimage to one of the most mysterious places on earth – Medjugorje (in Bosnia/Herzegovina).  There, they unexpectedly faced challenges to their own beliefs.  Scaffidi, who describes the film as “a test of faith from the start”, was again tested as he traveled from his home town of New Orleans to Cape Cod, Massachusetts for the holiday weekend screening.
“We expected that Labor Day weekend traffic would be an issue, but we never thought that a hurricane would nearly do the whole event in,” says John DellaMorte, Corpus Christi parishioner and organizer of the screening.  “Mr. Scaffidi had originally planned fly out on Thursday and land in Boston in plenty of time, but Isaac changed everything.”  Initially categorized as a tropical storm, Isaac made landfall in New Orleans on Tuesday, August 28th. It then slowed down and then developed into a Category 1 Hurricane.  “When I first heard the storm was coming …I figured no big deal…this will be blown over by Thursday, ” says Scaffidi.  “But when it hung around and got bigger and bigger-- than I thought, this might be a problem.” 
The storm’s aftermath --severe flooding, power outages, and multiple airport closures-- made it nearly impossible to travel out of the state.  “Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Gulfport, Mobile, I tried all the airports within three hours driving distance.  I even considered flying out of Jackson, MS. I couldn’t get out!  I was at the end of my rope,” recalls Scaffidi, who had spent the last few days helping elderly neighbors repair their rooftops.  “I was tired, I hadn’t slept, I was frustrated with the whole travel situation.  By Thursday, I was beginning to think we might have to reschedule.”
That night, Scaffidi called DellaMorte to discuss rescheduling.  “I had been told a million times over that there were no flights to Boston, but, John asked me to call the US Airways one more time,” he recalls.  “So, there I am, sitting in a parking lot of Sam’s Club, calling US Airways again.  I’m begging…please is there anything available?  The agent puts me on hold and the next thing I know she says –‘I found a seat!’”  In a 45 minute timeframe, a seat had opened up.  “I couldn’t believe it,” says Scaffidi.
On screening day, Scaffidi traveled two hours to Gulfport Airport, only to discover that his flight had been delayed an hour—jeopardizing his connecting flight from Charlotte to Boston.  “I had a decision to make, I could head back home or keep on trying.”  On a wing and a prayer, Scaffidi forged ahead and boarded the delayed flight.  Back in Massachusetts, DellaMorte followed the flights online.  “My heart sank when I saw the first flight landing in Charlotte and the connecting flight taking off within seconds of each other.  I mean, it was already going to be tight getting from Boston to the Cape in time for the 7 pm screening!  In my mind, there was no way we would be screening the film before 9 pm, and I wondered if people would really be willing to wait around,” says DellaMorte.  “I knew this was entirely out of my control, so I just prayed for a positive outcome.”
Corpus Christi parishioner and event co-coordinator Maureen O’Brien was also on pins and needles.  “We had people coming from all over Southeastern Massachusetts for this screening.  I couldn’t imagine having to tell them it was cancelled after they had driven so far on one of the busiest traffic days of the year,” says O’Brien.  “So I scrambled for ideas to try to hold the crowd until the producer could get there.”  Incredibly, John Castillo, a classically trained singer from the Perkins School of the Blind had contacted the parish earlier in the week, offering to open the movie with an Ave Maria.  “This young man was a God send –he entertained the crowd beautifully for nearly a half hour.”
Back in Charlotte, Scaffidi miraculously claimed the only open seat available on the next flight, arriving in Boston at 6:30 pm.  The flight touched down 20 minutes ahead of schedule, and Scaffidi and DellaMorte braced themselves for the notorious Labor Day Friday drive from Boston to Cape Cod.  “We were prepared to drive for at least two hours, but there was no traffic getting out of Boston, nothing at the Route 3 split, nothing at the Sagamore Bridge,” says DellaMorte, a native Cape Codder and seasoned Boston commuter.  “It was unbelievable!”
At 7:35 pm, when they arrived at the theatre, people were still pulling into the parking lot.  “I knew that—after all the struggle to get there-- this was going to be an amazing screening event.  The air was charged with electricity,” says Scaffidi, noting that, despite the delay, nearly everyone stayed around for the question and answer session afterward.  “The questions were great, the viewers were incredibly appreciative, and four or five people came up and hugged me and said that ‘The Sojourners’ had changed their lives.”
Scaffidi currently has plans to screen “The Sojourners” in five more states and eventually across America. “I can only hope that the next screenings will be just as powerful this last event,” said  a travel-worn Scaffidi, “But one thing I know, if you don’t give up on God, He won’t give up on you!”

For information on “The Sojourners” movie, or to arrange a showing in your home town, contact: 

Press Release written by:
Joanne Bangs 

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God bless all of our friends in Cape Cod!
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