In a documentary that features a prominent cast of religious figures and artists, student Henry Sullivan is exploring how Catholics creatively imagine their faith.

“People traditionally view Catholic art as enchanting, with statues, stained glass windows, and beautiful cathedrals. But there are other ways for Catholics to imagine their faith through art,” said Sullivan, a senior urban studies and theology double major at Fordham College at Rose Hill who has been working on the documentary since last summer and is planning to complete it by the end of the year. 

An Interview with Cardinal Timothy Dolan 

Sullivan’s 20-minute documentary, “Questions on the Catholic Imagination(s),” offers unique perspectives from religious figures like Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York. In the film, Cardinal Dolan says that God communicates with people through whispers. And through those whispers—or hints—from the divine, Catholics create art. Some examples are the 2018 Met Gala, themed “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” and the exhibit “Revelation” by artist Andy Warhol, whose Catholic upbringing is infused in some of his work, said Sullivan. 

Henry Sullivan and Cardinal Dolan
Henry Sullivan and Cardinal Dolan

Catholics Who Break the Mold

Sullivan, an aspiring filmmaker, was inspired to create his documentary after reading New York Times and Vox articles that offered new takes on Catholicism, targeted toward younger Catholics. (In his documentary, he also interviews the articles’ authors.) Sullivan started working on his film last summer, thanks to funding from Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture and his 2022-2023 Duffy Fellowship. On May 22, he screened his work in progress at the Howard Gilman Theater. 

Coincidentally, his film premiere took place shortly before Pope Francis attended a conference on the Catholic imagination in Rome, which was attended by artist Andres Serrano and Fordham’s Angela Alaimo O’Donnell—two key people who were interviewed in Sullivan’s film.

Sullivan said he hopes his documentary, which includes some controversial perspectives, will expand the minds of his audience. 

“I want to show that there is a rainbow of Catholics out there who don’t quite fit into the perfect mold that the church might make us feel like we need to fit into,” he said, citing an example that Fordham’s Bryan Massingale, S.T.D., mentions in the film. “Father Massingale talks about how the church often tries to make mathematical equations about human morality. What it doesn’t take into account are the complexities of humanity.”

‘New York Is My Campus’

Sullivan has been familiar with the Jesuits since birth. He was born in Georgetown University’s hospital to an Irish-Catholic family, and graduated from Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. 

“Attending a Jesuit high school, which emphasized social justice, was infectious for me,” Sullivan said. “I wanted more of it. That’s what propelled me to another Jesuit school—Fordham.” 

During his first year at Fordham, he often rolled his eyes at the phrase “Fordham is my school, New York is my campus” because it felt cheesy, said Sullivan. But this year, he realized the phrase was right: 

“From seeing Andy Warhol’s exhibit sign in the Fordham subway station, to conducting all my interviews in New York City and then showing my film at Lincoln Center—that was ‘New York is my campus’ on full display.”


Taylor is a visual storytelling strategist in Fordham University's marketing and communications department, where she documents University life through photography and video. Since joining Fordham in 2018, she has served as a writer, photographer, videographer, and social media manager, dividing her time between University Marketing and Communications and the Office of the President. She earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from Stony Brook University's School of Communication and Journalism and her master's degree in public media from Fordham University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Her work has appeared on NPR, NBC New York, and amNewYork METRO.