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November 16, 2009


The live theatrical one-man drama VIANNEY, performed by Leonardo Defilippis, will be
performed at several parishes across the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on November 30 –
December 4, 2009.

This production is touring the U.S. as a part of the worldwide celebration of the Year of the
declared by Pope Benedict XVI. Over the last few years, the scandals that have
wracked the Catholic Church have damaged the reputation of this ministry, and have
tainted the public’s understanding of what it means to be a priest. As a result, priests and
laity have been hesitant to encourage vocations to the priesthood in their congregations and
families. In response to this crisis and to reinvigorate and inspire fervent prayer for
vocations and a new and deeper understanding of this most important calling, Pope
Benedict XVI has declared a Year of the Priesthood from June 2009 through June 2010, and
has chosen the beloved Saint John Vianney as the patron of this year, and as the patron of
all the priests of the world. VIANNEY is a perfect introduction to the saint, and gives a new
and encouraging answer to the question, “What is a priest?”

John Vianney, commonly known as the Curé of Ars, lived in the era following the French
Revolution, which had decimated the Catholic faith in France. A poor peasant,
incompetent in his studies of Latin and theology, he was ordained anyway because of the
shortage of priests. Vianney was then sent off to the obscure village of Ars, where the
people had fallen into decadence, crime and debauchery. In his determination to save
every single soul put into his care, he encountered tremendous resistance, and even violent
supernatural attacks. Many nights, witnesses attested, the furniture was thrown around
the rectory supernaturally, and the next morning the Curé emerged bruised and exhausted.
Vianney courageously overcomes these attacks, and succeeds not only in reforming the
lives of his parishioners, but also in drawing, by his holiness and his ability to read souls,
hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to the tiny parish. Sixteen hours a day were spent in the
cramped confessional, and people were willing to wait in line for days for a few minutes of
his counsel. Vianney himself found the onslaught difficult to bear, and even tried to escape
to a monastery to live and pray in peace. In the end, however, he returned to his flock,
recognizing his role as “the shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.”

“I find the character of John Vianney extremely endearing,” says Defilippis. “He was a
truly eccentric character, wearing a ragged cassock, living on a diet of nothing but one
potato a day, yet sparing no expense for the church or his children. His love and concern
for the salvation of every single person he encountered came through in his every word and
action. There is an urgency in him that is extraordinarily compelling and convicting.”

Leonardo Defilippis is best known for his direction and starring role in the feature film
THÉRÈSE, which generated phenomenal grassroots support and played in mainstream
movie theaters for an unprecedented 70 weeks and is now in DVD release. His non-profit
company Saint Luke Productions has, for 30 years, produced live, film and television
dramas on the scriptures and the lives of the saints. Their live productions have toured the
U.S., Canada, and Europe, with audiences totaling more than one million people. Their
film productions have received numerous prestigious awards, and have been seen by
audiences all over the world.

VIANNEY is suitable for ages 12 and up. Admission for all performances will be a free-will
offering. The tour is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.


Information at a Glance:
Monday, November 30, 2009 @ 7:30 p.m.
St. John Bosco Church
235 E. County Line Road, Hatboro, PA 19040
Information: Chuck Burgy @ 215-672-7280 or

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 @ 7:30 p.m.
St. Cornelius Church
160 Ridge Road, Chadds Ford, PA 19317
Information: Tammie Curran / 610-459-2502 /

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 @ 7:30 p.m.
St. Helena Social & Recreation Center
1489 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422
Information: St. Helena Parish Office @ 610-275-7711 or

Thursday, December 3, 2009 @ 7:30 p.m.
Holy Cross Church Parish Hall
651 E. Springfield Rd, Springfield, PA 19064
Information: Father John Gabin @ 610-626-3321

Friday, December 4, 2009 @ 7:30 p.m.
Our Lady of Ransom Catholic Church
6700 Roosevelt Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19149
Information: Parish Rectory @ 215-332-6166 or


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