By Amanda Boston

The revered evangelist Billy Graham said, “God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’” St. Stephen Catholic Church invites you to discover more about God’s love with The Cross and the Light, a Broadway-caliber production playing from Thursday, May 18 until Sunday, May 21.

The musical’s message holds firm to biblical truths while incorporating a modern twist of pageantry to delight the senses. It portrays Jesus’ life from The Passion to Pentecost with actors, singers, and a state-of-the-art projected video imagery on the walls, measuring a whopping 150-ft. wide by 30-ft. tall.

Father Robert Schneider of St. Stephen stated, “We are delighted to open the doors of our new church to the community with The Cross and the Light—it’s a show that allows people to experience Christ’s passion in a completely new way. It will showcase the beauty of our new worship space and give the community a chance to see what our exciting parish has to offer.”

The new church is spacious at 30,726 sq. ft. and provides 1,100 seats with the ability to expand to 1,500 seats. It is a considerable upgrade from the church’s humble beginnings—a storefront building on Bell Shoals Rd. The official building dedication will take place on Thursday, June 29 by the church’s new Bishop.

Gretchen Robens is the communications coordinator for St. Stephen Church and is thrilled to be hosting the distinguished musical. “We hope our low-price tickets will make opportunities for people to invite friends and co-workers,” said Robens.

The multi-sensory production is the brainchild of former Miss America runner-up, Kelly Garver Nieto. Before its conception, Nieto appeared to enjoy a full and prosperous life with an ideal career and supportive family.

However, deep within, she sensed something was amiss and yearned for peace and real purpose. Then she encountered Jesus Christ, and from her Christian walk, The Cross and the Light came into existence.

Since the musical’s debut in 2011, it has captivated audiences around the world, often selling out its shows. St. Stephen Church will host eight performances. Visit, to see a listing of show times and dates or to purchase tickets. The church is located at 10128 St. Stephen Cir. in Riverview. Visit or call for tickets 681-2990.

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Amanda Boston is the Christian Voice Editor for the Osprey Observer. She is a graduate of Bible Training for Church Leaders (BTCL), who enjoys sharing how God is working in and through the community. Amanda resides in FishHawk with her husband and two children.