The Catholic Church and the arts have come together in a unique collaboration that brings the Faith to life in a dramatic way.
The Christ Cathedral Drama Series opened in August 2013 on the campus of Christ Cathedral (formerly "Cyrstal Cathedral") in the state-of-the-art Freed Performing Arts Center in Garden Grove, California. The annual series is a creative partnership between Saint Luke Productions, a professional Catholic live theater company, and the Diocese of Orange, California. This diocese is the tenth largest in the U.S. and the second largest west of the Mississippi, serving over 1.3 million Catholics.
Spearheaded by Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, the drama series is part of a vision for the transformation of the former Crystal Cathedral property built by evangelist Robert Schuller. The Diocese of Orange purchased the 34 acre campus in 2012, and is planning to turn it into an international Catholic center for culture and the media.
"The Christ Cathedral Drama Series is a creative and dynamic means of engaging and inspiring the faithful, and another important avenue for welcoming people into a life of faith with God at its center," explains Bishop Vann.
Leonardo Defilippis, founder and president of Saint Luke Productions, shares Bishop Vann's vision. "There is really a void in our society - there is almost no Catholic presence in theater and the media," he says. "The Diocese of Orange is taking a major step to change that current desert landscape and to evangelize through drama."
"These dramas represent a dynamic interplay between art and faith." says Ryan Lilyengren, Director of Communications at the Diocese of Orange. "The history and location of the Christ Cathedral campus allow the Diocese of Orange to create a true center of art and culture for all."
"The response was incredible," says Lilyengren. "It showed us how on the Cathedral campus we can join entertainment, art, and culture with our mission to build understanding and engagement with the history and teachings of the Catholic Church."
Leonardo Defilippis sees the Christ Cathedral Drama Series as having enormous potential to evangelize not just Catholics, but the secular public as well: "Wouldn't it be wonderful that those who travelled to Disneyland from all over the world would come to Christ Cathedral and witness the heroic example of the saints through this drama series? Our world needs courageous examples of holiness and joy right now."
Bishop Vann agrees. "I pray that this unique partnership with Saint Luke Productions serves to support the Church's efforts to bring people closer to God through the inspirational beauty of artistic expression."