Manito native promoting new pro-marriage movie

Monique Sondag has seen the new pro-marriage movie “Fireproof” dozens of times, even though the film doesn’t open in theaters until this weekend and Monique, 24, isn’t married.

But the daughter of Deacon Bob and Theresa Sondag of Immaculate Conception Parish in Manito has criss-crossed the country promoting “Fireproof,” especially among church groups. She is employed by Lovell-Fairchild Communications, which is assisting with the film’s public relations and marketing.

“We really believe it’s going to do well,” said Sondag of the movie, which stars Kirk Cameron as a firefighter who is a hero in the community while at home his marriage is in need of rescuing.

Through the course of the film — produced by Sherwood Pictures, creators of the 2006 release “Facing the Giants” — Cameron’s character learns that the firefighters’ creed of “Never leave your partner behind” also applies to marriage.

Sondag was in Peoria last month for a pre-screening of the movie with area Catholic leaders. She encouraged parishes and Catholic ministries to use the movie as a discussion starter on marriage issues, and distributed a brochure linking “Fireproof’s” themes with Catholic Marriage Ministry Resources, including the new Web site ForYourMarriage.org produced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

While “Fireproof” has an evangelical tone — Sherwood Pictures is a ministry of the Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga. — it has received endorsements from several Catholic leaders. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, for example, is quoted on the movie’s promotional site, www.fireproofthemovie.com, calling it “an excellent film that makes marriage-commitment real and attainable with Christ’s grace.”

Catholic audiences “adore this movie,” said Sondag, especially its message on the importance of marriage. “That gets Catholic audiences so excited,” she said.

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