The Archdiocese of Chicago’s website dedicated to Fr. Augustus Tolton’s Cause for Canonization, www.toltoncanonization.org, notes February 24, 2011, as the Proclamation and first session of the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of Father Augustus Tolton. It is quite amazing how much has transpired in less than two years. Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Postulator for the Cause of Fr. Tolton, has been working tirelessly, and his dedication and enthusiasm is contagious. One year after the first session, the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for Causes of Saints granted the title of “Servant of God” to our very own Father Tolton. For the many who are familiar with his life story, we are not surprised that the Vatican has bestowed the title which best describes the life he lived.
Bishop Perry reports that the Tribunal in Rome is taking witness testimonies indicating that Fr. Tolton has been consistently in the memory and prayers of the faithful. He is in conversation with the Roman Postulator, Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, and has offered approximately thirty testimonies regarding favors granted through Father Tolton’s intercession. Two of the favors are extraordinary. Locally, all concerned with the health of Cardinal George as he undergoes chemotherapy have been asked to say the prayer asking for Father Tolton's intercession specifically for the intention of the Cardinal's health and healing. Twenty-seven documents have been discovered in the archives of the Propaganda Fide which speak to Fr. Tolton’s character, life, and his own words. Bishop Perry is also in conversation with the Urban College in Rome where Fr. Tolton attended seminary.
The Cause is not only gaining great momentum in Rome. In Chicago, where this holy Servant of God labored and died, devotion is rapidly spreading. Fr. Tolton’s life story is proving to be both comforting and inspirational to multitudes from various walks of life. In these past two years, there have been three pilgrimages to Quincy, IL, and Brush Creek, MO. On April 14, 2012, the inaugural Fr. Tolton Pilgrimage-Chicago took place. Sites included the locations of the historical Old St. Mary’s and St. Monica’s churches. Solemn prayer took place where Fr. Tolton disembarked the train at 35th and Lake Park and a procession was made to where he then fell after succumbing to the severe heat. Highlights included a prayer service in the chapel of Mercy Hospital where Fr. Tolton died at the age of 43. One of the most touching moments of the Chicago pilgrimage was the prayer and placing of flowers at the gravesite of Fr. Tolton’s mother, Martha Jane, and his sister, Anne, at Mount Olivet cemetery. Fr. Tolton is now visible throughout the city of Chicago because light pole banners have been designed and installed at four locations.
It is extremely encouraging that inquiries are coming in from around the world for Fr. Tolton prayer cards and brochures.
This year’s Gala for the Cause for Sainthood of Father Augustus Tolton will take place on Friday, October 19th. A wonderful evening has been planned, which includes a “lively” silent auction, the Seton Academy Jazz Ensemble, emceed program, the presenting of the 2012 Martha Jane Tolton Award, D.J. Senegal and dancing. For more information, and to rsvp and pay online, please visit the Office for Black Catholics website www.blackcatholicchicago.org. Although much has been accomplished, much still needs to be done. The journey continues! Please join us as we travel this sacred path with Fr. Augustus Tolton, from slavery to sainthood.