First, maybe I’d better explain what an epiphany moment is.
It can be a rare occurrence followed by a process of significance thought. It’s triggered by new information that gives you a deeper understanding of the occurrence. It also can be a sudden realization about something that comes about after a traumatic experience. In simple terms, an epiphany moment can be a game changer that hits you all at once.
It does not have to be a religious moment, though here, I will elaborate on a religious moment that happened to me back in the early 1950s when I was in my late teens. I was no different than the average teenager.
I enjoyed the pleasures of life and that was just fine. Then one evening, I attended a Broadway musical put on by a Syracuse N.Y. local church group called the Pompeian Players. Directing the musical was the parish priest. His name was Father Charles Borgononi, better know has Father Charles. After seeing the musical, I said to myself, “Hey this something I would like to do.” So I joined.
Father Charles had only two stipulations: You had to attend Sunday Mass and you had to belong to the Discussion Club, wherein he would teach about the faith. Well, even with those two stipulations, I started to get involved in the musicals. Unbeknownst to me, my spirituality started to creep to the front. There was method in Father Charles madness! Somehow it started to change my worldly ways.
It should be said that for these musicals, we practiced for a period of approximately five months. It was an event that encompassed many talents in the parish. The musicals were put on initially at a school auditorium, but as the musicals became more professional, we were ready for the big time. That is, we were going to put on the musicals in a downtown theater. This needed the talents of many disciplines: sushers, makeup artists, ticket sellers were needed, people running the curtains, stagehands for the change of scenes—and the list went on. The clarion call went out to the parish and people responded. The Holy Spirit was at work.
Now my epiphany moment.
Please visualize the following: It is opening night. The musical is in a plush Strand or a Warner theater; I can’t recall which one. The marquee lights are ablaze advertizing the musical. Posters are displayed in glass outside the theater. It definitely is the big time. Tonight we are going to play to a sold-out audience of over 2500 people. The cast, made up of primarily high school students, is as excited and nervous as teenagers can be.
It’s show time and the lights begin to dim. The overture begins. Father Charles is behind the main curtain and he calls for everyone to gather on stage. This includes the cast and the many workers who are not in the musical per se, but are essential to its success. These are mostly the adults that I have mentioned above; the makeup ladies, the stagehands, etc. There are also people present who have volunteered who are not of the Catholic faith. With the overture seeping through the main curtain, Father Charles calls for quiet. The only thing you can hear is the silence of the overture. He asks everyone to bow their heads and he prays for the success of the musical.
You could hear a pin drop. I swear the Holy Spirit was on stage at that moment. It was an epiphany moment for me. It changed my life and strengthened my faith. And as St. Paul said, “When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child, when I became a man I put aside the childish things.”
Yes, opening night was a great success!!!