Fr. Augustus Tolton
Chicago, IL (March 1, 2010) – Many Catholics might not ever have heard of Fr. Augustus Tolton; but black Catholics most probably have. He was the first American diocesan priest of African descent, the son of slaves. After studying in Rome, because no American seminary would accept him, he was ordained for the Diocese of Quincy, in southern Illinois, and later came to Chicago to start a parish for black Catholics. He died young, at only 43 years of age; but most priests in the nineteenth century died before their fiftieth birthday. Visiting the sick on a daily basis was risky in an age before antibiotics. Many priests sickened sometime in their forties and died after a period of ill health.
Fr. Tolton’s cause for sainthood is being introduced in the Archdiocese of Chicago, and during this year for priests it would be good to pray to him and to ask the Lord to send us many more priests like him.
Francis Cardinal George, OMI