Born into slavery and later ordained in Rome, the first African-American diocesan priest has just taken a big step toward being recognized as a Catholic saint.
On Monday, the Archdiocese of Chicago closed the final diocesan phase of the investigation into the life and virtues of Father Augustus Tolton (1854-1897).
The ceremony took place on the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, with a large group of the faithful from the Dioceses of Springfield, Illinois and Jefferson City, Missouri in attendance.
Cardinal Francis George wished to preside personally over the closing ceremony of the process despite his poor health, saying he believes that promoting Fr. Tolton’s cause for sainthood was one of the most important things he did in all his years as Archbishop of Chicago.