Andrew Aloysius Sullivan – Obituary

by Lynn McMillen
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AndrewReverend Andrew Aloysius Sullivan, 51, died at his sister’s home in Madison, Ala. Reverend Sullivan had been battling pancreatic cancer and passed away Oct. 1, 2013.
Born in Philadelphia, Pa., to Andrew Aloysius Sullivan, M.D. and Joan Theresa Sullivan, Reverend Sullivan was the fourth of five children. Reverend Sullivan, affectionately known by his parishioners as “Father Andy,” spent his childhood in Drexel Hill, Pa. He and his family moved to Jacksonville, Ala., in 1979 where he graduated from high school in 1980.
Father Andy attended the University of Alabama from 1980-1984. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology. Upon his graduation from college, Father Andy attained a certificate in computer science from Jacksonville State University.
In 1985, Father Andy moved to Washington, D.C., where he was employed by the Pentagon. His official duties included programming war games for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
It was while he was living in D.C. that Father Andy realized his calling to become a priest. In a 2003 interview with The Tuscaloosa News, Father Andy explained that during this time period, he was struggling spiritually. He began attending a group called “Returning Community” for inactive Catholics at a Washington, D.C., parish. This experience reignited his faith. Two years later, at the age of 27, Father Andy decided to enter the seminary. He attended Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., for five years. On May 28, 1994, Father Andy was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Birmingham and celebrated his first Mass at his home parish of St. Charles Church in Jacksonville, Ala.
Father Andy’s initial assignment was at St. Peter’s Church in Hoover, Ala., where he spent a year as an associate pastor. He then served as an associate pastor at St. Francis Xavier Church in Homewood. While there, he also taught classes at John Carroll Catholic High School. In 1998, Father Andy returned to Tuscaloosa as the head pastor of St. Francis Catholic Church, where he was actively involved in the college campus ministry. In 2003, he was transferred to St. Joseph’s Church in Florence, Ala., where he served as pastor for the next decade. On August 1, 2013, Father Andy was granted a one-year sabbatical and began living at the St. Francis Xavier rectory.
In addition to his religious pursuits, Father Andy remained an avid Alabama football fan. His favorite music was that of Bruce Springsteen and Father Andy attended 15 of “The Boss’s” concerts. An avowed dog lover, Father Andy left behind his constant companions – Bear and Hershey.
A kind and gentle soul with a big heart, Father Andy loved and was loved by family, friends, parishioners and the many others whose lives he touched throughout his life and ministry. He always demonstrated particular care and concern for those who were struggling on life’s journey. Father Andy’s homilies resonated with those who were fortunate enough to hear his messages, and each week, he challenged those in attendance to be the “forgiveness, mercy and love” that Christ displayed to us. His mantra was “God is love and all who live in love, live in God.”
Father Andy was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Andrew Aloysius Sullivan. He is survived by three sisters, Eileen Sullivan, of Felton, Pa., Maureen Sullivan Markley, of Jacksonville, Ala., and Joan-Marie Sullivan Dean, of Madison, Ala. He is also survived by one brother, James Joseph Sullivan, also of Madison, Ala. Father Andy is also survived by 12 nieces and nephews and eight great-nieces and great-nephews.
Visitation will take place from 5-7 p.m. on Oct. 7, 2013, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Madison, Ala. A vigil will then take place at 7 p.m. with the Reverend Phil O’Kennedy presiding. The Most Reverend Robert J. Baker, S.T.D., Bishop of Birmingham, will preside at a funeral Mass on Oct. 8, 2013 at 11 a.m. at St. John’s. In attendance will also be the Most Reverend David E. Foley, D.D., Bishop Emeritus. The Reverend Robert Sullivan, of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Birmingham, will serve as celebrant. A private interment will be held at a later date in Jacksonville, Ala. (
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the St. Joseph School Scholarship Fund, 1111 E. College Street, Florence, AL , 35630, attn: John Dupuis.


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