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A Black History Month Profile

News of the Diocese

February 8, 2012


Father Augustus Tolton - Cause for Canonization


Father Augustus Tolton carries the reputation of being the first identified priest of African descent in the United States by reason of his mother and father being direct descendants of Africans who were brought here as slaves.


Tolton's ordination was taken simultaneously as an anomaly and a news sensation in 19th century America.  An ordination of a Negro was generally thought to be unimaginable.  Others took it as an extraordinary achievement.  A priest of black skin vested in the priestly vestments was a novel sight for American eyes, white or black, and equally an exhilarating experience for black Catholics to receive Holy Communion from a priest of their own race.  Tolton was viewed as an eloquent and religious man, an innocent soul, given admiration and respect on the one hand, and on the other hand, contempt and scorn arising from the climate of racial separation ordered for that time.


Continue reading a four-page history about Fr. Augustus Tolton>


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