Archdiocese of Chicago Holds Fundraiser To Help Chicago Priest Receive Sainthood

October 18, 2018 - 10:57 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Archdiocese of Chicago is holding a fundraiser this weekend in the effort to get a Chicago priest named as a “saint”.  

Father Augustus Tolton, born to slaves in Missouri, was one of the first black Catholic priests in the United States. 

He attended seminary and was ordained in Rome in 1886 because no seminary in America would have him.  

Fr. Tolton thought he would be assigned to Africa for his priesthood. Instead, he was assigned to serve in Quincy, Illinois.  A few years later, he was assigned to Chicago where he organized and built Chicago’s first church for the black Catholic community-- St. Monica’s at 36th and Dearborn.  

Sunday there’ll be a fundraising gala at Navy Pier's Lakeview Terrace to further the effort to have Fr. Tolton named as a saint.

Fr. David Jones, pastor of St. Benedict the African Church in the Englewood community said, "those costs are always being incurred by all those professionals that are involved in the process, the lawyers, the historians. There’s just a tremendous amount of work that people have to be compensated for performing."

Fr. Jones said the cost so far, he believes, is around $250,000. 

Currently, those pushing Fr. Tolton's cause for sainthood are looking for people who have benefited from miracles because they prayed to Fr. Tolton. 

Fr. Jones said he wishes there were more overt excitement in Chicago about the possibility of Fr. Tolton being named a saint.  Right now, he said there's a "sleepy" sort of excitement.

He said, "I just kind of have the sense that, if God-willing it happened that it will bring a new burst of new lift to Chicago, something else for Chicago to identify with and share with the world."