Explore daily faith and spirituality practices around the world with ‘Sacred’

Become immersed in the daily use of faith and spiritual practice from more than 25 countries in “Sacred.” At a time when religious hatreds dominate headlines, the film explores faith as a primary human experience, and the many ways people turn to ritual and prayer to navigate life.

Academy Award-winning director Thomas Lennon commissioned or sourced contributions from top international filmmakers in order to capture more than 40 diverse stories from 25 countries – never once leaving his New York office. Sweeping in its global reach, the film intimately unifies these disparate scenes into a single work, told without narration, without experts, and, for long stretches, without words at all.

Setting the stage for the journey, Sacred opens with a monk embarking on his Kaihogyo, a 1,000-day walk around Mt. Hiei in Japan. Continuing with a young Muslim father from Cairo chanting the call to prayer to his baby, who is only minutes old, the film’s approach is both lyrical and linear as it moves forward in time, from the initiations of infancy such as bris and baptism, to coming-of-age ceremonies in Mandalay, Jerusalem and the San Carlos Apache Reservation that feature boys and girls in adolescence.

In Spain and India, the film encounters teenagers as they lean on their faith to navigate the most intimate pressures of their lives: the strains between two parents and the prohibitions of dating. The film travels through marriage and the trials of adulthood through to the rites — whether solemn or riotous — by which we remember and honor our dead.

“Sacred” airs Monday, Dec. 10, at 9 p.m. on Arizona PBS.

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