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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Mark Siegrist has told a number of stories via documentaries on Milwaukee Public Television.

In Movies & TV Commentary

Siegrist's latest, "Milwaukee Holy Orders - The Making Of A Priest," will debut Monday.

For Siegrist, it's a journey of faith


Mark Siegrist has always enjoyed telling stories. From the times he was on the street, at the anchor desk, or hosting a live talk show, he presented what people were doing and what was important in their lives.

Lately, he's been able to do that though a number of projects involving long-form documentaries that have aired on Milwaukee Public Television.

His latest effort is "Milwaukee Holy Orders – The Making Of A Priest," which will air Monday at 9 p.m. on WMVS-TV Ch. 10.

"It is really a walk of faith," Siegrist said, while talking about the men he followed as they made their way through the seminary and into priesthood. "My eyes were really opened to how open they were to the will of God ... that they were leaving it the Divine's hands."

The half-hour program takes a look at the Catholic Church and its struggle to recruit priests, and presents in context the recent allegations, convictions and effects the child abuse cases have had on the community.

"We didn't set out to have this just be a look after (the sex abuse scandals), we wanted to present it in context, that this is where the church is," Siegrist said of the declining numbers of priests entering the seminaries. "Often priests are working in their retirements, and the churches themselves have to be an extension of recruitment efforts."

What impressed Siegrist was the way of life the men were seeking and finding comfort in.

"To stay connected in a spiritual sense, they have this attraction to simplicity," Siegrist said. "They want to live simply and be fulfilled. It sets you free, that the material stuff ... can get in the way of the big picture."

It's that big picture that Catholics and non-Catholics can gain from watching the program.

"I think people will be able to find this applicable to their own faith walk," Siegrist said. In the differing faith groups that Siegrist has profiled in his career, he said he has found a common perspective in service to the community.

Siegrist, now 60, is still learning as he works his craft. Through this project and another he is working on that will air later this year, he said there's so much that can be learned through the people he has interviewed.

"It's a good reminder to shut up, and listen," Siegrist said.

COUNTDOWN IS ON: Fox has finally set a premiere for "American Idol." The ratings leader, even through a small slide in the past few seasons, will debut with a two-hour kickoff Jan. 16.

With new judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban on board, we will see if that is truly enough to keep the show on top. Carey and Minaj have already been able to keep the buzz going while the show has been in production with the first rounds of tryouts this fall. Sometimes it is just enough, as people love to watch a train wreck.

Fox also announced on Wednesday that Kevin Bacon's thriller "The Following" will first air Jan. 21, and the second season of "Touch" with Kiefer Sutherland will start Feb. 1.

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