St. Luke Productions invites you to a free showing of the theater production “Tolton: From Slave to Priest,” the story of the first African American priest, starring actor Jim Coleman. The showing will take place Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine.

Father Augustus Tolton

The story of Augustus Tolton begins with his mother, Martha, a Missouri slave who travelled 20 miles and crossed the Missouri river with three children in tow to get to the free state of Illinois. Thanks to his mother’s courage, Tolton was able to study for the priesthood in Rome and be ordained a priest in 1886. His sermons in his hometown of Quincy, Illinois caused racial tension, but he continued his mission of spreading the Gospel, and eventually established St. Monica Church in Chicago.

Father Augustus Tolton’s cause for canonization has been presented by Cardinal Francis George to the Vatican and is moving forward quickly.

This is a free event, although a free-will offering will be taken to cover expenses. For more information, contact Father Tom Willis at or (904) 824-2806.