Background Image

Diocese News March 20, 2018

Tolton: From Slave to Priest Live Production - April 10, 13 & 14

The life of Servant of God Augustus Tolton is now immortalized on stage with the new play “Tolton: From Slave to Priest.”

Tolton: From Slave to Priest is a powerful new live production based on the life of Fr. Augustus Tolton, the first African American priest. This compelling true story of courage, forgiveness, and reconciliation resonates deeply with modern American audiences. Bishop Joseph Perry of Chicago, postulator for Fr. Tolton’s canonization cause, is calling Tolton a production that will “inspire a new era of peace, hope and forgiveness in America.” Tolton is a riveting multimedia drama not to be missed. The production runs 75 minutes, and is suitable for middle school age and up.

The highly-acclaimed one-man drama from Saint Luke Productions embarked on a national tour in Fall 2017, and is scheduled for three live performances in the Dallas Diocese on April 10, 13 and 14, 2018. 

  • Tuesday, April 10th, 2018, 7:00 p.m. - Bishop Dunne Catholic School Auditorium
    FREE Admission
  • Friday, April 13th, 7:00 p.m. - St. Rita Catholic Community Sweeney Hall
    FREE Admission
  • Saturday, April 14th, After 5:30 p.m. Mass - St. Rita Catholic Community Sweeney Hall
     $6.00 admission for Dinner Theater production includes spaghetti dinner


Tuesday and Friday productions are free to attend, but RSVPs for ticket reservations are required. Tickets for Saturday show are $6.00 each and include a dinner theater environment with spaghetti dinner.

For more information and to reserve seats or purchase tickets visit


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 ages 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.

About the Actor

Jim Coleman is excited and honored to be playing the role of Father Tolton. Prior to his acting career, he served in the US Army as a medic. 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 Jim. “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.