“The Journey” continues, priest says

“After the success of last year’s ‘SamBuhay, The Concert,’ the sequel is definitely on with the staging of ‘The Journey’ this month,” Fr. Laure Helar, the parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes of this town, said in an interview.

Composed of parish workers, lay leaders, and lay persons, including those from the Moro community, SamBuhay is a parish-based theater group originally intended to help raise funds for the construction of the P6-million Parish Formation Center.

“We started the group as an organization of local artists and talents in order to raise funds so that we can help in the construction of the formation center,” Nep Peñaranda, one of the original members and parish worker, explains.

Peñaranda, who heads the parish ministry for the Basic Ecclesial Communities, said SamBuhay is “actually the brainchild of Fr. Helar.”

“Before he was assigned here as parish priest, there were already loose groups who were into music and theater,” Peñaranda said, adding “only in Fr. Helar’s time that we were organized into one theater group with clear mission.”

Fr. Helar was assigned as parish priest of the Kabasalan parish last year. He was previously assigned in Siay parish, some 15 kilometers northeast from here.

“He provides direction and inspiration for the group,” Evelyn Monasterio, another original member of SamBuhay and head of the parish Social Action Ministry, pitched in.

Fr. Helar, an amputee after losing both legs in a vehicular accident in 1988, as the parish priest serves as “force that discovers and unites local talents in the service of the church.”

“We are very thankful of his coming into the parish,” Monasterio said.

“SamBuhay, The Journey” will showcase original SamBuhay compositions with choreography in telling the audience that the journey of “life and faith never ends.”

“Theater as a form of art is a very effective way of conveying the message to the audience,” Fr. Helar said.

By combining songs and choreography, according to Fr. Helar, the message is better understood and retained by those who listen and watch.

The staging of “SamBuhay, The Journey” two days before Christmas is an opportunity to deliver “the message of hope in time of the coming of Christ,” Fr. Helar concluded. (Antonio M. Manaytay / MindaNews contributor)