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By Kathleen Rogers

While galas and concerts are typical ways to celebrate the dedication of a new church, Father Curtis and a group of faithful supporters prayed for something more fitting to mark this special moment in St. Stephen’s history. In early 2016, Father Curtis’ chance encounter with college students who attended “The Cross and the Light Concert Experience” (TCTL) inspired him to bring this Broadway-caliber theatrical production to celebrate our new church. Recently, Father Curtis shared the story of how TCTL came to St. Stephen Catholic  Church with me and a gathering of 300 TCTL volunteers.

A Time of Thinking and Praying

Father Curtis started by reflecting on the timeframe when he joined the St. Stephen Catholic Church parish in July 2015. At that time, the building of the church was well on its way.  Although it was too late for him to be a part of the construction planning, he realized that it was equally important to plan a celebration for the completion of the church — even in a tight budget year.  It was a time of thinking and praying on what kinds of things the parish could do to celebrate.

A Friend Calls in Need

Then one Sunday morning a little over a year ago, a close friend of Father Curtis’ from the seminary, Father Lawrence, called and asked him a pretty big favor.  He asked Father Curtis to fill in as a discussion lead at a campus ministry on a Sunday evening at Flagler College three hours away.  So Father Curtis gave mass all morning and then made the drive.

Witnessing the Excitement of TCTL

Father Curtis arrived at Flagler College in the early evening.  Before the campus ministry gathering started, a parish spokesperson from St. Catherine of Orange Park briefly talked about TCTL and showed a two-minute YouTube video.  The students were invited to come to the performance the following Friday and were offered a discounted student ticket.

The students expressed their excitement to see TCTL and Father Curtis marveled a bit at the situation.  When he witnessed their enthusiasm for spending a Friday night traveling over an hour and paying $25 to see a faith-filled theatrical production, he knew TCTL was special.  These are college students after all.

TCTL comes to St. Stephen

A bit of time passed and Father Curtis returned to Flagler College.  Just by chance, he encountered the same students and asked them about TCTL.  Father Curtis that he needed to find out more about TCTL.  It was obviously such a moving experience for these students as they shared their reactions to this production.

Father Curtis then called Kelly Nieto, CEO & creator of TCTL, and mentioned that St. Stephen is building a new church.  Kelly brought up the church’s website and saw the construction video.  Father Curtis remembers how there was silence on the phone and then Kelly said, “We want to be a part of this.”

And here we are today, inviting the community to enjoy this exciting event.  This will be the second time TCTL will be coming to Florida. You won’t want to miss it!  Buy your tickets today!