In Your Midst

THE NEW MIRACLE PLAYS:
“Slightly Off Broadway”

Summer 2001

In This Issue:
In medieval cathedrals, miracles were enacted nearly every day. Miracle plays, that is. Happenings from the saints’ lives, scenes from the Bible, and the history of holy days were acted out year after year on the steps of the great cathedrals and on carts that were wheeled from town to town.

At a time when few were able to read, miracle plays gave cathedrals an opportunity to instruct and to dramatize the finer points of faith and catechism. Miracle plays told their stories with costumes, sets and even slapstick humor. They were often performed in a series over the course of a year, with performances scheduled on Corpus Christi and other important feasts.

These days, we’re unlikely to need a miracle play to help us understand a Bible story because we can read them on our own. But we may suffer from an opposite problem: With so many diversions to choose from, we may simply never find the time to settle down and learn more than basic grade-school catechism about our faith.

In response to this modern-day concern, St. James Cathedral has revived the tradition of the miracle play with its own dramatic series, “Slightly Off Broadway.” According to Helen Oesterle, the Cathedral’s director of religious education, the series of dramatic performances at St. James will, “Tell stories about people of faith and events in our lives that can nurture, challenge and inform us. But mostly,” she says, “they’re designed to be ‘entertaining,’ to give Cathedral parishioners and neighbors a chance to have fun with faith.”

Casting Call for
“Slightly Off Broadway” Volunteers

Do you love the theater?

Have experience in performance, publicity or production?

Join the “Slightly Off Broadway” volunteers for your chance to help select and stage performances at St. James Cathedral.

For more information, please call Helen Oesterle at 206/382-4515.

“Slightly Off Broadway” began in January with a performance of “Late Nite Catechism” in Cathedral Place Hall. Over 300 people packed the hall to relive their Catholic school days with a catechism lesson from Sister, complete with glow-in-the-dark rosaries and ruler desk-rapping reprimands. The performance raised over $755, which was donated to the Holy Names Sisters’ Retirement Fund.

The series continued with the June 10th play, “Fr. Luigi Rossi: The Life and Times of a Pioneer Priest,” recounting Catholic life in the Northwest of 150 years ago from the perspective of an Italian missionary priest. Next up in the series will be “St. Therese: The Story of a Soul” on October 21st. We invite all parishioners to join the fun and watch as miracles are enacted for our benefit.

Mary Bourguignon is a parishioner and a religious education volunteer.


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