The first Paulist priest that we met — at least knowingly — was Fr. James DiLuzio. Fr. James performs a mission called “Luke Live” which is built around a recitation (from memory) of the book of Luke along with popular songs and an invitation to personal reflection.
Our pastor, Fr. Clarence, invited Fr. James to bring his mission to St. Rose two years ago. This was a few months after Evan had told us of his discernment toward the priesthood and, specifically, the Paulists. We jumped at the opportunity to meet Fr. James and to get to know him.
He’s a great example of the Paulist charism, using his talents as a performer (his resume includes SAG/AFTRA membership) and storyteller to make the Gospel of Luke meaningful and personal. Interspersed with the performance, he walks his audiences through a series of exercises designed to bring deeper understanding of the scripture.
We’ve attend the past two years and are looking forward to attending this year’s presentation. It’s difficult to capture in words, the feeling of refreshment and spiritual nourishment that we’ve gotten from attending Luke Live.
If you’re in the area — or in any of the areas that Fr. James will be visiting — it’s worth your time to attend this mission.
I’ll leave you with a press release describing the mission in a bit more detail and with the hope that you’ll be able to attend Luke Live some day.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Live Gospel Proclamation to Return to Davis County Parish
Layton, Utah — January 5, 2014
Residents of northern Utah will have the opportunity to hear parts of the Gospel of Luke proclaimed live, from memory, along with Broadway-style singing and guided reflections. Paulist Fr. James DiLuzio from New York will offer the presentation on February 3, 4 and 5 with sessions at 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. at St. Rose of Lima parish in Layton, Utah. The event is free to the public and is fitting for all ages — Families with children age 10+, teens, singles, and seniors.
The event is part of the “Luke Live” mission which is performed all over the country. Fr. DiLuzio has committed the book of Luke to memory and performs it as a one man show, incorporating popular music along with reflections on the meaning of scripture in relation to modern life. The performances come naturally to Fr. DiLuzio who once dreamed of becoming a professional actor and completed a masters degree in drama at the University of Southern California.
In the early 1980s, when he was working in customer service at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, DiLuzio began attending Mass at the church of St. Paul the Apostle. He found himself drawn to the Paulist mission of evangelization through engagement. The attraction drew him into the order and he was ordained a priest on May 8, 1993.
After serving nine years in parish and campus ministry, he wanted to find a way to integrate his dramatic training with evangelization. Returning to the early days of the church — when the Gospels were shared from memory — he developed Luke Live.
“It’s not the kind of evangelization that says, ‘I have the truth and I am going to convince you’,” DiLuzio says. “It’s really about sharing, about dialogue. It’s about transforming not only the listener, but the person who is doing the sharing.”
Luke Live is ecumenical in nature, respectful of people of all faiths and creeds. Although the majority of Fr. DiLuzio’s performances have been in Catholic parishes, this past year he was invited to share the Gospel at St. Luke’s United Methodist church in Memphis, Tennessee and his audiences have included people of many different faiths.
The program has resonated with audiences. Speaking of a performance at St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Logan, St. Rose pastor Fr. Clarence Sandoval said, “It was interesting to watch the people listen — maybe for the first time — to the Gospel, God’s Word.” Members of other parishes who have participated have described Luke Live as “a new and exciting way of hearing the book of Luke” and “inspired and inspiring.”
This year’s presentation at St. Rose will continue the work, focusing on Luke chapters 13 through 18. Each day of the mission will focus on two chapters with the morning and evening sessions offering the same content. The event is free to the public.