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Right Next to Disneyland: Theater Meets Faith

Contact: Janice Gonzalez, Media Relations, Saint Luke Productions, 360-487-9979, pr@stlukeproductions.com

VANCOUVER, Wash., Aug. 19, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- For the first time in modern history, the Catholic Church and the arts are coming together in a unique collaboration that will bring the faith to life in a dramatic way.

The Christ Cathedral Drama Series, which opens in August of this year at the Freed Performing Arts Center in Orange, CA, is a creative partnership between Saint Luke Productions, which for 35 years has been dedicated to renewing the culture through theater and the media, and the Diocese of Orange, CA, one of the largest in the U.S., with more than 1.2 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, built by evangelist Robert Schuller. The Diocese of Orange purchased the 34 acre campus in 2012, and is transforming the striking glass structure and its facilities, which include the state-of-the-art Freed Theater, 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."

Saint Luke Productions' Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy is slated to open the series in August. Faustina performances at the Freed Theater last January met with sold-out audiences, prompting a return engagement.

"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."

Thérèse: The Story of a Soul, will follow in October, and Tolton, Saint Luke Productions' newest drama on Fr. Augustus Tolton, the first African-American priest, is scheduled for January of 2016. The Christ Cathedral Drama Series inaugural season will conclude with The Passion According to Luke in Lent 2016.

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 the inspirational beauty of artistic expression."

INTERVIEW CONTACT:

Leonardo Defilippis, Producer, Actor and President of Saint Luke Productions, is available for interviews by appointment and by phone.

Contact Janice Gonzalez, Media Relations for Saint Luke Productions, 360-487-9979, pr@stlukeproductions.com.

INFORMATION AT-A-GLANCE:

Christ Cathedral Drama Series 2015-2016 Season: www.CCDramaSeries.com 

  1. Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy
    August 21-23, 2015
     
  2. Thérèse: The Story of a Soul
    October 1-3, 2015
     
  3. Tolton
    January 22-24, 2016
     
  4. The Passion According to Luke
    March 18-20, 2016

Freed Performing Arts Theater – Christ Cathedral Cultural Center
13280 Chapman Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92840
Tickets: www.CCDramaSeries.com
Information: www.christcathedralcalifornia.org/events or 714-282-3045
Sponsored by: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange