Tolton: From Slave to Priest, the powerful live production performed by actor Jim Coleman and directed by Leonardo Defilippis of Saint Luke Productions, will be presented at Church of the Resurrection on Friday, November 1 at 7:30pm.
Meet Fr. Augustus Tolton, the first African American priest, in this one-man multimedia performance. From his dramatic escape from slavery to his courageous struggle in the face of prejudice, Fr. Tolton’s inspiring life centers around his message reconciliation and hope. This riveting drama is filled with all the elements of professional theater, runs 75 minutes, and is suitable for ages 10 and up.
About Father Tolton: To characterize Fr. Augustus Tolton’s life as remarkable is an understatement. He was born a slave on a Missouri farm in 1854, and his mother risked everything to reach freedom in Illinois with her three small children. After settling in the town of Quincy, Illinois, the family continued to experience hardships and prejudice. In spite of this, he persevered in his deep desire to become a Catholic priest. When every seminary in the United States rejected him, Augustus did not give up, and he was finally ordained in Rome. Upon his return to Illinois, Fr. Tolton worked tirelessly to serve people of all races, especially the former slaves who flocked to Chicago.
Fr. Tolton saw the Catholic Church as the antidote to the discrimination and rejection that he experienced in his own life. “It was the priests of the Church who taught me to pray and to forgive my persecutors,” he said. “We should welcome all people into the Church, not send them away.”
At the young age of 43, Fr. Tolton died after collapsing from heat exhaustion in Chicago. Now his cause for sainthood is moving forward, as more and more people are beginning to recognize the humble perseverance, courage, and compassion of this extraordinary man.
Admission will be a free-will offering.
About the Actor: Jim Coleman is excited and honored to be playing the role of Father Tolton. Having appeared in more than 50 national commercials, Jim is best known for his role of Roger Parker in the hit Nickelodeon show My Brother and Me.
“Father Tolton’s story needs to be told,” says Coleman. “As a black man, this very important part of history is something that I want the world to hear about. I truly feel blessed to be the one to share Father Augustus Tolton with all who will listen!”
Jim and his wife Robin reside in Florida; they are the proud parents of six children.