Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
Cast call
By Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
December 11, 2017

We're invited to a drama in three acts called, Christmas. Act One, everyone knows the story. The curtain rises and a nativity scene appears including some visiting field workers and three distinguished emissaries who bring gifts for the newborn. It is a story told every year. When the theater lights dim a calmness waxes over a silent audience. Stage lights suddenly turn off and the curtain falls. Someone announces "Intermission." The play was a "free admission." Nothing else is said. The box office is also closed. Nothing to refund anyway.

Then one day as in a dream everyone who was in that theater long ago finds himself back in the audience. The lights have been drawn down. The curtain rises and a person no one knows walks onto the stage and announces that the Third Act of the play called, Christmas, will soon begin. He explains that they had been the Second Act of the play while they had been going about their daily lives.

With no advance announcement a cast call is made. Some are called up to the lighted stage, smiling. Others remain where they are.

You see, the drama we were in and continue to play is the first part of a trilogy. We were and continue to play our parts while some have already played out their roles in the second drama which will decide their and our lasting roles in the never-ending story the playwright John the Evangelist wrote. The entire project is an ensemble effort borne by many associates, Paul, Peter, James, Mark, Matthew, Luke and others whose persons we hardly know except for the advice and production values they added to the drama. The pre-production work had been ongoing for years, many centuries actually, borne by some great teachers who were also called prophets, among them Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah and others. Much of the cast and production preparations for the Second Play was done by Isaiah. These four weeks before Christmas we fortunately have Isaiah's study notes and the stage directions of others in the First and Second Readings of the Office of the Hours for Advent.

"All the world's a stage," wrote Shakespeare, "And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances" ( As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII ).

© Fr. Tom Bartolomeo


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Fr. Tom Bartolomeo

I am the founder and director of the Families For Families Retreat House, a refuge for anyone who wants to rethink his or her life in a quiet non-demanding environment in an historic house c.1709 when life was less complicated. I am also and primarily a Catholic priest having been a college and university teacher, business-owner and executive among other things. I received my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English literature from Saint John's University, Jamaica, New York and completed post-graduate studies at Kansas State University. Contact me at


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