'The Messiah' play a resounding success in Charlotte, North Carolina

The play's cast with Fr. Richard Ho Lung

A week after it was held at the 800-person capacity Halton Theater of CPCC in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, the musical presentation “The Messiah” remains the talk of the town.

“It was hard to find seats...presenting the life of Christ and integrating it with Jamaican culture was interesting and different,” said Raymund Kelly.

The priest who wrote and produced the play, Fr. Richard Ho Lung of Kingston, Jamaica founded the Missionaries of the Poor (MOP). Raymund said Jamaican culture was also evident in the backdrop, scenery and lighting.

He said the Last Supper scene was lifted straight from a Leonardo Da Vinci painting. “Jamaicans music and dance were prevalent. You can see elements of Jamaican music and dance which was fine,” said Raymund, who came with wife Jesett and son JR.

Jesett said the presentation may be different but the message was still the same. She watched the presentation the day before and volunteered to usher in the event. Jesett came to watch again with her husband Raymund on Sunday.

The 2 ½ hour play started at 3:30 pm on Sunday. The audience was a big cross section of the community consisting of Filipinos, a few blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Caucasians. “Everyone was there,” Jesett said.

Malette Aquino-Oliveros (extreme right) with the religious sisters

Malette Aquino-Oliveros, president of the Filipino-American community of the Carolinas (FACC) said the play was very entertaining and the performances were spectacular.

“Colorful costumes, as if you're watching Ten Commandments. It was told through a very creative production and well written songs and stories of the life of Jesus Christ,” she said.

Bishop Peter J. Jugis and some of the clergy watched the Saturday schedule. The musical was held for the benefit of the poor, homeless and abandoned in Jamaica where the MOP missionaries seat is located.

The musical is also a celebration for the MOP as it celebrates 33 years of existence. Organizers described “The Messiah” is a musical drama consisting mostly of reggae and Caribbean rhythms with dances, colorful costumes and powerful performances.

Arcbishop Peter J. Jurgis with Fr. Lung

To quote Wikipedia “The Missionaries of the Poor (MOP) is an international Roman Catholic monastic religious institute of brothers dedicated to joyful service with Christ on the Cross" to serve the poorest of the poor.” 

Started in 1981 in Kingston, Jamaica it has now grown to over 550 brothers from 13 countries.

Their headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica, maintain six mission homes for destitute persons, including abandoned sick, disabled, or dying men, women, infants, and children. 

They also operate in India (Andhra Pradesh and Orissa), the Philippines (Naga City and Cebu), Haiti (Cap-Haïtien), Uganda (Kampala), Kenya (Nairobi) and in Monroe, North Carolina, the US. A mission is being established in Indonesia.

The brothers gave away all personal belongings, take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Everything is done in community including eating, sleeping, and traveling. 

All their daily activities revolve around prayer, service and worship. More than just giving aid with food, clothing and shelter, the Missionaries of the Poor are dedicated to building up the Church and spreading the faith. 

The cast members

(Susan Palmes-Dennis is a veteran journalist from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao in the Philippines who works as a nanny in North Carolina. This page will serve as a venue for news and discussion on Filipino communities in the Carolinas.

Read her blogs on susanpalmesstraightfrom the Carolinas.com. These and other articles also appear at http://www.sunstar.com.ph/author/2582/susan-palmes-dennis.

You can also connect with her through her Pinterest account at http://www.pinterest.com/pin/41025046580074350/) and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Straight-from-the-Carolinas-/494156950678063)

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