Venerable Augustus Tolton:

$1 million grant to establish Chicago center named for first African American Catholic priest

The Venerable Augustus Tolton died in 1897, but thanks to a $1 million grant announced in his name Wednesday, the nation’s first Black Catholic priest could nurture and strengthen the vitality of Catholic congregations in Chicago for generations to come.

Tolton, who was born into slavery in Missouri and escaped to Illinois with his family during the Civil War, made such important strides in his 43 years that in 2010, Cardinal Francis George announced Tolton’s cause for sainthood. It is a lengthy process, but one that in just nine years has resulted in his recognition as venerable, two steps from the final declaration of sainthood in the Catholic Church.   Read on>>>>>