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Chicago, IL (February 15, 2011) – Most Rev. Joseph N. Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and Postulator for the cause for sainthood of Father Augustus Tolton, has announced that the next step in the process, the Proclamation and First Session of the Canonical Trial, will be held on Thursday, February 24, at 2 p.m., at St. James Chapel, Archbishop Quigley Center, 835 North Rush Street in Chicago. 

The public is invited to this important event that will include a midday prayer, the signing of the Decrees and Issuance of Appointments that continues the process of examining the life, virtues and reputation of holiness for Father Tolton (1854-1897).

Last June in Rome, Bishop Perry presented Archbishop Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation of Causes, with a summary of the archival material gathered on Father Tolton, including correspondence Father Tolton had with Mother Katherine Drexel, and a number of articles from newspapers in Chicago at the time Father Tolton was in Quincy, Illinois and Chicago.  In October, the Roman postulator, Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, visited the Archdiocese of Chicago to meet with Bishop Perry and personnel who will be working on the Cause.  Once the Cause of Father Tolton is officially opened, he will be given the title of "Servant of God".  

The official website for Father Tolton’s Cause,, includes an extensive biography, timeline of his life and times, information about the official Guild for the promotion of the Cause for Canonization of Father Tolton and a Historical Commission appointed by Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago.  Additionally, website visitors will find a canonization prayer, information on how to request prayer cards and report favors granted.

Father Tolton was the first American diocesan priest of African descent.  Born the son of slaves in Missouri, he studied for the priesthood in Rome because no American seminary would accept him.  Ordained for the Diocese of Quincy in southern Illinois, he later came to Chicago to start a parish for black Catholics.  He was only 43 years of age at the time of his death.

Anyone wishing to make a gift in support of the Father Augustus Tolton Cause may do so by mailing a check payable to the Archdiocese of Chicago, to Most Rev. Joseph Perry, Postulator, PO Box 733, South Holland, IL, 60473-0733.

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