Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SAINT TOLTON? Columbia Catholic High School patron starts road to canonization

COLUMBIA, 3/16/11  (Beat Byte) --  Columbia's first Catholic high school is named for the first black priest in the United States, a former slave named Augustine Tolton whom the Archdiocese of Chicago recently selected to begin the long road toward the pinnacle of honor in Roman Catholicism:  canonization as a saint.
"It is appropriate that, during this Year for Priests, we recall our forebears who were holy men in the presbyterate" of the archdiocese, Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George told the Catholic New World.  Father Tolton as Saint Tolton would be a blessing for the whole Catholic Church but, in particular, for Catholics in Chicago, he said.

Born into slavery in 1854, Tolton was a native of Brush Creek, Missouri, about 12 miles from Hannibal.   How Tolton escaped his shackles remains a mystery of the historical record, but he eventually left for Rome, where he studied and was ordained a priest in 1886.  He returned to the United States, serving around Illinois, notably in Alton and Chicago, where he died at age 43 of heatstroke. 
Canonization is a formal legal process carefully conducted by canon lawyers at the Vatican that can take years, if not decades, to complete.  Candidates for sainthood pass through several stages that begin with designation as a Servant of God.  The Pope may later declare the candidate Venerable and, if a miracle in the venerated candidate's name is confirmed, the papal designation Blessed may follow.
A second confirmed miracle may merit the designation Saint, but any final decrees rest entirely with the Pope. 
Located at 903 Bernadette Drive, Fr. Augustine Tolton Regional Catholic High School is scheduled to open in the fall of 2011 for students in grades 9 and 10; in 2012 for grade 11; and again in 2013 to include grade 12. 

1 comment:

  1. Books on Fr. Augustus Tolton
    "A Place for my Children"
    "A Boy Called Gus"
    Go To: