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Why the Church and the World Will Miss Stratford Caldecott

Rose Marie Caldecott

Kathy Schiffer - published on 07/21/14 - updated on 06/07/17

So Strat embraced this newest challenge, his impending death–knowing that God directs all things, and nestling himself deep within the will of God. The essay has much to offer; you can read the rest of it here.

And so begins the second part of the story: From childhood, Stratford Caldecott had been a big fan of Marvel Comics and, later, the Marvel films. When he was stricken by cancer in October 2011, he became too sick to see the latest Marvel film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in the theater. The film was not scheduled for release on DVD until August; but Strat’s daughter, Sophie Caldecott Lippiatt, feared that he would not live long enough to see it.

Sophie sought a way to honor her terminally ill father, and so she mounted a social media campaign to get the stars of Captain America to acknowledge him in a Twitter campaign called #CapforStrat. Sophie explained, in an exclusive interview with The Independent:

“Mark Ruffalo (who plays the Hulk) was the first, and seems to have been encouraging the others to join in. He told me his dad had prostate cancer too, so I guess that’s why this resonated with him.”

Samuel L Jackson followed, and before long Mr Caldecott had the backing of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) and Captain America himself (Chris Evans).

Ms. Caldecott said that eventually Christopher Markus, one of the writers who worked on the Avengers films, got in contact to say he might be able to help.

Word spread, and soon, thousands of fans around the world were participating in the #CapForStrat campaign. Strat’s family didn’t reveal the scope of the campaign until they’d gotten confirmation. The movie company agreed to bring the film to his home so that the now-bedridden Caldecott could watch it in comfort. The first #CapForStrat tweet they shared with him was that of Mark Ruffalo, who played “The Hulk,” and a stunned Strat said, referring to the character’s deep green shade, “Green is my new favorite color.”

Sophie’s sorrow at her father’s illness was unmitigated by the big surprise, but she was grateful to those who had helped to make #CapForStrat a success.  She told The Independent:

“We all have down moments when it hits us anew that even all of this can’t make dad’s illness go away, or change the fact that we’re losing him, but we’re trying to put off thinking about that while we still have time left to celebrate him and enjoy this time together.”

You can read the full story of Sophie’s surprise and the #CapForStrat campaign here.

One of Stratford Caldecott’s last accomplishments was the completion of his final book, Not As the World Gives: The Way of Creative Justice (Angelico Press).  Other titles by this great Catholic writer and thinker include:

Kathy Schiffer is a freelance writer and speaker, and her blog Seasons of Grace can be found on the Catholic Portal at Patheos.  

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