The Year of the Priesthood, proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI, begins today and as a key contribution to the celebration, a new theatrical drama VIANNEY will launch a worldwide tour with a premiere in Houston, Texas. The play focuses on the question, “What is a priest?” and tells the story of St. John Vianney (1786 – 1859) whose exemplary life was so remarkable that the Pope has named him the patron of this jubilee year, and will, at the close of the year, declare him the patron of all the priests of the world. The VIANNEY drama, starring actor and film director Leonardo Defilippis, will appropriately open on August 4, Vianney’s feast day, and the 150th anniversary of his death. The drama couldn’t open at a better time. The scandals that have wracked the Catholic Church have damaged the reputation of the priesthood, and have tainted the public’s understanding of what it means to be a priest. As a result, Catholics have been hesitant to encourage vocations to the priesthood in their congregations and families. “I think we are ready for a breath of fresh air, a celebration of all the good, faithful priests who give their lives for their flock,” says Defilippis.