News Detail
“My hope is that the stories I tell will help people open their hearts to the wonder of God’s love and to believe that forgiveness is possible and that there is much more to life than what we experience through our senses.” — Jesuit Father J. Michael Sparough
Drama, Dance, Mime and Music Help Jesuit Bring Bible Stories to Life

February 7, 2014 — Jesuit Father J. Michael Sparough has juggled, worked with a circus troupe, written musicals and directed traveling shows — all to bring Bible stories to life.

Fr. Sparough, who is also a retreat director, founder of Charis Ministries for young adults and author of several books, says he sees himself as a “contemporary evangelist” whose storytelling skills help inspire. 

“My hope is that the stories I tell will help people open their hearts to the wonder of God’s love and to believe that forgiveness is possible and that there is much more to life than what we experience through our senses,” he says.

Fr. Sparough’s English and theatre studies coincided with the popularity of musicals such as “Godspell” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which moved him to write a sequel to “Godspell” with his friend, Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa.

Their production, titled “J.C. (And Other Resurrection Stories),” began with the death of Jesus and moved through the Resurrection narratives. A staff member from the Episcopal diocese of Southern Ohio saw the show and invited Fr. Sparough to stage a few scenes from his musical on Fountain Square, the civic plaza in Cincinnati. With a group of 100 performers, Fr. Sparough recreated the scenes in the tradition of the medieval morality plays performed in public plazas.

Following the success of the event, Fr. Sparough founded the Fountain Square Fools in 1975, a “portable theatre proclaiming Good News,” using drama, dance, mime and music to bring the Gospels to life. Fr. Sparough served as artistic director, traveling with the group across the U.S. and to Canada, England and Ireland for the next 16 years.

After his time with the Fountain Square Fools, he moved to the Bellarmine Retreat House in Illinois, where he continues to dramatize biblical stories. Fr. Sparough also began doing a unique style of dramatic parish missions with the help of his four siblings, calling themselves the Sparough Family Mission Team.

“Many of us are so familiar with the stories of the Bible that we have a hard time hearing the message,” said Fr. Sparough. “A fresh dramatization of a biblical story or parable can recast the familiar in fresh clothes and bring its truth alive.”

For the complete story about Fr. Sparough, visit Arts and Faith, an ongoing series from Loyola Press.


Recent News

August 23, 2016 — Fr. Roy Joseph, SJ, is the first American Jesuit to be ordained a bi-ritual priest in both the Syro-Malabar and Latin rites.

August 18, 2016 — Today is the feast day of Saint Alberto Hurtado, a Chilean Jesuit priest known for his engagement with Chilean culture and his work with young adults and the poor.

August 17, 2016 — Scorsese is the director of the upcoming film "Silence," about Jesuits in Japan during the 17th century.

August 15, 2016 — The concert tour's performances will benefit Jesuit Refugee Service's Global Education Initiative.

August 12, 2016 — As the Jesuit Volunteer Corps celebrates its 60th anniversary, its overriding goal has remained consistent: to “ruin you for life.” JVC’s motto, “Dare to change,” encourages volunteers to step outside of their comfort zones and live and serve in solidarity with those in the margins of society.

August 11, 2016 — The Jesuit Conference's advocacy staff is dedicated to championing issues central to the Jesuits’ social justice mandate.

August 10, 2016 — Jesuit Father Jack Podsidalo, from Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Richmond, recently spent a day helping an immigrant parishioner navigate the necessary hurdles at the local ICE office. He recounts his experience here.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 8/29/16

America 8/15/16

America 8/1/16



Jesuit Center
The Jesuit Center in Wernersville, Penn., is a place of natural beauty, welcoming quiet and spiritual sustenance for those who seek peace within.