Neither of us were that thrilled going into the viewing of Going My Way, the 1944 American musical comedy-drama starring Bing Crosby. While I knew his name, I don’t know if I had ever seen the man in anything before this. Also, “musical comedy-drama” isn’t exactly my genre, if you know what I mean. But the film was fairly enjoyable. We follow the story of Father O’Malley (played by Crosby), an unconventional priest coming in to shake things up at St. Dominic’s Church in New York City. While he initially doesn’t impress the church’s pastor Father Fitzgibbon (played by Barry Fitzgerald), it becomes clear that O’Malley has a method to his madness. He connects with parishioners on their level – through music, frank conversations, and helping them meet their immediate needs. Music is peppered throughout the film, and plays a major role in inspiring hearts and building community. And O’Malley is front and center for this, crooning all the while.
I was raised in the Catholic Church, and while I don’t currently practice, I’m sentimental enough to always love when priests are portrayed as good guys or when we see them as likable or relatable. I attended six years of Catholic school, and it was only some time later when it occurred to me that clergy were actual people with lives of their own, rather than just distant and somewhat shadowy adults observed from the pews, sometimes seen walking around near the school office.
Crosby’s Father O’Malley is the type of fictional priest a lapsed Catholic would have wanted his real-life parish priests to be. Evidently he’s Continue reading