Wally gives comfort to a boy who will grow up with clean water.
Wally gives comfort to a boy who will grow up with clean water.

     There’s a fleeting moment in “From Mass to the Mountain” where Father Wally hugs some children while holding a Dixie Cup of water.

     This simple scene neatly encapsulates the movie’s essence: A Ripon farm boy turned Catholic priest “baptizes” rural Panamanians with clean water, saving lives and guaranteeing futures for children who previously had little hope to become healthy, happy adults.

     Produced by Ripon High School alumnus Kurt Sensenbrenner, ’07, the film has had three showings this month and last at the Milwaukee Film Festival, with many Ripon people motoring 160 miles round trip to see on the big screen the work of two hometown kids made good.  

     Kurt’s too short, 66-minute documentary deftly depicts the man and the minister.

     ... If you’ve been unable to visit Wally’s mission in Panama, no worry. The mountain is coming to us. And thanks to Kurt, the cinematography is stunning, the storytelling seamless.

     Sometime next year, Kurt plans for Ripon to screen his film, which features cameos by Bill Boesch, Peter Kasuboski, Rob Webster and other local folks.

     But the movie star remains the guy with the Dixie cup, who does one better than turn water into wine.

     He uses it to save lives.                                          — Tim Lyke

     To read the entire editorial, see the Oct. 13, 3016 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.