In the aftermath of a critical World War II battle, Father Gaetano is assigned as the sole priest at the Church of San Domenico in the small seaside Sicilian village of Tringale. The previous pastor has died and there is a shortage of clergy at the moment, so until another can be spared, the young priest must say all of the masses himself.
Mass is not Father Gaetano's only responsibility, however. The war has created many orphans, and thus the San Domenico rectory has been converted into an orphanage that is also his domain. The children are a joy to him, but they have lost so much, many have begun to question their faith and their God, and his attempts to teach them catechism are in vain...until he finds an old puppet theater and an ornate box of puppets in the basement. Handcrafted by the building's former caretaker, now absent, the puppets seem the perfect tool to get the children to pay attention to their lessons. But after dark the puppets emerge from that ornate box, without their strings. Whereas the children have been questioning their faith, the puppets believe Father Gaetano's Bible stories completely. Yet there is such a thing as too much faith. And the children's lives will never be the same again.