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In Bob We Trust (ATOM Study Guide)

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SKU: SG1027
Year Levels: 7-12
Streaming Content: In Bob We Trust

By the time I left I was feeling the dislocation. Up there at the church, life had meaning. There were all kinds of good: weddings, baptisms. And then you go away from that and all of a sudden, what are you? – Father Bob Maguire

In Bob We Trust (Lynn-Maree Milburn, 2013) is a 100-minute feature documentary about Melbourne Catholic priest Father Bob Maguire. With more than 98,000 followers on Twitter and a regular radio spot on ABC youth radio station Triple J on Sunday nights with John Safran, Father Bob has never been your average parish priest. The documentary was filmed over the past four years when Father Bob was pushed to retire as parish priest of Sts Peter and Paul's Church in Melbourne's inner-city suburb of South Melbourne. He had lived there for thirty-eight years, working tirelessly with the community's poor and disaffected – 'the unloved and the unlovely' as he calls them.

In 2009, when Father Bob turned seventy-five, the Catholic hierarchy 'invited' him to step down from his position and leave his parish and his home. This film tells the story of how this situation played out over the following years. It reveals the profound effects his leaving the parish church had on Father Bob, his parishioners and friends. As the cameras follow him on his daily rounds and meetings, we witness the essential qualities of a man who has become something of a hero to many and a thorn in the side of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy.

In Bob We Trust would be an excellent film to show to secondary students across a range of curriculum areas. Like Father Bob himself, it is difficult to pigeonhole the film in terms of school curriculum. At an obvious level, it would be interesting for students studying subjects such as Religion and Society at VCE level, but it could also be used in a wider curriculum context.

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