“Terminus, Terminus, Terminus”… the crowd chants in unison. The huge gladiator raises his sword as he looks to the crowd for approval. Thumbs down. But at that moment the soldier beneath him rolls out of the way and lunges for a nearby sword. The crowd cheers wildly as the fighters circle each other warily. The fight is on again.
Welcome to the premiere performance of Heroes of the Faith
, a play written and produced by the drama club Milites Christi
, a name which means “Soldiers of Christ”. You’re back in Dublin Oak Academy, an all-boys boarding school which avid readers of Good News will recognize as the setting for the altar boys program called Knights of the Altar
Here the Milites Christi Drama Club
performs a series of plays that present real-life stories of God’s heroes in a captivating and quite literally dramatic
In Heroes of the Faith
, for example, the story follows the imaginary figure of Proculus, a Roman soldier who is converted by St. Ignatius of Antioch, until both die in the arena. It then switches to St. Tarcisius, represented here as Proculus’s son, until he too is martyred defending the Eucharist.
“These plays are tremendous catechetical tools,” says Fr. Francisco Cepeda, the Academy director. “Boys need role models, and by participating in the plays they are able to identify themselves with the characters.”
And what do the boys think about them? José Carlos Solís, the boy chosen by the other actors to be the director of the plays last year, had this to say when contacted recently back in Mexico, several months after participating in the plays.
“The plays in Dublin Oak Academy helped me a lot. They helped all of us grow as leaders because you get to work as a team and you really need to have conviction to do your job. It also helped me to grow in love for Christ because in every play there was a message or a meaning. We offered up the plays for souls. It was a great experience.”
Such words show that the lessons of the plays jumped off the stage and into the boys’ lives, and are music to the ears of those responsible for passing on the faith here at Dublin Oak Academy. This year, two more plays will be added to the roster, bringing the total to five.My Life for Christ
tells the story of Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Rio, who was martyred for his faith in Mexico in the 1920s. For Souls
is an imaginative combination of the Passion of Christ and the story of Brian Bisgrove, the founder of Catholic Youth World Network and ConQuest Clubs, who died of cancer at the age of twenty-one.
Besides Heroes of the Faith
, other recent releases were Champion
, the story of the mission, capture and martyrdom of St. Edmund Campion, an English Jesuit martyred under Elizabeth I; and Patrick
, the epic tale of the apostle of the Emerald Isle.
The impact these plays had on the boys is best summed up in the words of José Carlos Solís: “I came here to learn English and get a good education, but since I’ve been here, I’ve discovered Christ. The plays helped me to do that.”
That’s because every boy needs a hero: a hero of the faith.To receive the plays or to contact the author, please write to [email protected].