Monday, June 29, 2009
When Pope Benedict XVI recently proclaimed June 2009 through June 2010 The Year of the Priesthood, dedicated to Saint John Vianney, Leonardo Defilippis was overjoyed. That's because Defilippis, the director and star of the feature film THÉRÈSE, has been working for two and a half years on a new live production on John Vianney, which will open on August 4, 2009, the 150th anniversary of the saint's death. The U.S. tour of VIANNEY will travel to parishes, theaters, seminaries, universities and throughout the Catholic school system, as a significant contribution to the year-long celebration and renewal of the priesthood and family life.
"The Pope's focus on John Vianney is right on target," says Defilippis. "The Curé of Ars is the saint who will inspire all of us, especially young people, with a deeper understanding of the heroic life of the priest. I believe we'll see a tremendous upsurge in vocations from this Year of the Priesthood - because our youth are seeking a radical choice, a way to make a difference in our world, and John Vianney points the way through his dramatic life of self-sacrifice and his struggle with evil."
Leonardo Defilippis's new production tells the story of the Curé of Ars (1786 – 1859), from his childhood during the French Revolution through his death after forty years as the parish priest in the tiny village of Ars, France, where pilgrims from all over the world flocked to his confessional and to hear his preaching. During that time, Ars went from a decaying community with a lax spiritual life to a vibrant Christian center, a model of holy living for the world, a place of such radiant peace that many of the thousands of people who came to visit described it as "heaven on earth."
Amazing things happened in Ars, witnessed by ordinary people. The Virgin Mary appeared regularly at the rectory for conversation with the pastor. So did the devil, who kept trying to smash the furniture. There were miracles of multiplying bread to feed the hungry, miracles of healing and of prophecy. Then there was the miracle of a pastor who kept going for years on amounts of food and sleep too small to sustain human life. Most dear to Vianney's heart were the conversions -- thousands of them. Skeptics and curious tourists found their lives transformed. Families were healed and renewed. Fallen-away Catholics wept and returned to the Church. All of this came about through the sacrifices and holiness of one simple pastor.
Saint Luke Productions is currently scheduling performances for the 2009-2010 seasons. They provide everything necessary to make the event a success, and the VIANNEY production include all the elements of professional theater -- lights, sets, costumes and an original musical score. Call 1-800-683-2998 or visit www.vianneydrama.com for more information.
~ Via Christian Newswire.