Tolton: From Slave to Priest
The Tolton Ambassadors of the Atlanta Archdiocese respectfully seek your assistance with the Cause for Canonization of the Venerable Fr. Augustus Tolton (1854-1897). Fr. Tolton, born a slave on April 1, 1854, baptized and reared Catholic, is recognized as the first priest of full African descent in America. He served in Quincy and Chicago, Illinois, after having received his training in Rome. No seminary in the United States would accept him.
Augustus Tolton was ordained at St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome on April 24, 1886. This same year, Fr. Tolton conducted his first Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on April 25, and then returned to Quincy in the United States to serve as a missionary. On February 24, 2011, the Roman Catholic Church officially began the formal introduction of the cause for sainthood of Fr.Tolton. In 2019, Pope Francis bestowed on him the title, The Venerable Father Augustus Tolton.
June 2014 it was decided a group of people from various churches in Atlanta would form a committee to endorse the Canonization of Augustus Tolton. Augustus Tolton was the first recognized black priest in the United States of America. He lived for 43 years and was a contributing factor to being a disciple and ministering the gospel of the Lord on this Earth during his time.
On Saturday October first 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at the Basilica of Sacred Heart in Atlanta 13 members of the committee were installed as ambassadors. Bishop Perry of Chicago was the presenter and one who installed the members as official ambassadors for the cause of canonization of Augustus Tolton. We are proud to be representatives for this great cause and are looking for the guidance of our church and various ones across the diocese to support us in this effort. Following the Mass there was a small reception and the following day a brunch was given at which Bishop Perry from Chicago was the primary speaker.