By Jennifer Mauro | Associate Editor
Patrick Sullivan may have been portraying Jesus in his parish’s “Living Last Supper” presentation for six years, but it’s a memory from his first time playing the Son of God that stands above the rest.
“An 8-year-old boy came up to me, and he tugged on my alb and said, ‘Jesus, can I have your autograph?’” Sullivan of Nativity Parish, Fair Haven, said as he prepared to go on stage the evening of April 11. “I didn’t know what to say. … So I asked his name and I wrote a quick message to him, and then I was unsure what to sign. Do I sign Patrick? Do I sign Jesus? So I decided to sign it ‘Jesus’ in quotation marks. And the boy thanked me and walked away.”
Though the true meaning of that autograph was surely explained to the youngster at a later time, Sullivan fondly recalled that the boy ended up speaking with the parish pastor at the time, telling him, “I have something that no one in the world has … I have Jesus’ autograph.”
Photo Gallery: Living Last Supper
Sullivan joined 12 other men from various parishes in recreating the Last Supper April 10-12 in the Fair Haven church. Among those taking on roles was his son, Patrick Jr., who portrayed the apostle John.
Sullivan Jr., 15, a member of the parish’s youth ministry, said taking part in the play helped him feel closer to his faith, especially during Lent.
“When I talk to the other disciples, it’s mainly about Jesus’ teachings, and I absorb that information and it helps me get closer to God,” he said.
Parishioner Joseph Dilustro, who portrayed the apostle Simon Peter, said it has been a joy of his life to have been involved in the production for the last five years.
“It gives me a lot of peace and serenity as a result of being associated with such a fine group of men,” he said.
This is John DiDomenico’s sixth time performing as the apostle Andrew, and over the years, he has not only gained something, he has given back, too.
“I learn more and gain more every time I do it … intellectually, but most importantly, spiritually,” he said with a smile.
That is a message he brings not just to the role, but to others he meets, including the infusion center where he has undergone chemotherapy treatment for cancer, said his wife, Annie. In fact, roughly two years ago, not even wearing a chemotherapy pump could keep him from performing in the play.
That determination continued for this year’s performance – which the actors have personally dedicated to DiDomenico – in the face of mounting health challenges.
“He is bound and determined to get through this season of Lent and to have a good Easter,” Annie DiDomenico said, holding back tears. “He’s my hero.”
Related Video: Interviews featuring John and Annie DiDomenico
Video taken by photographer Hal Brown contributed to this report.