America’s First Black Priest Moves Toward Sainthood

The nation’s first black priest, Father Augustus Tolton, is continuing to move toward sainthood.

Servant of God Father Tolton’s cause of beatification and canonization recently advanced in Rome.


Tolton was born into a slave family in 1854 in Ralls County. His family escaped to Qunicy as a child.

The process to name Tolton a saint began in 2010.

On February 5, the Theological Consultants of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints unanimously approved his cause move forward. His cause will now be heard by the Cardinal and Archbishop members, as well as Pope Francis for consideration.

If the Pope agrees, Tolton would receive the title of “Venerable.”

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