Sainthood for First Black Priest?

It will literally take a miracle for Father Augustine Tolton to be given this honor by the Catholic Church.

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Augustine Tolton, the United States' first African-American priest, has been described as "kind of like a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." for his peaceful work in the face of racism. A piece from Gate House News Service explains why some in the Catholic community would like to see him declared a saint. There's already plenty of proof that he was a trailblazer, but church officials will need more: evidence that he performed a miracle.

From Gate House News Service:                                      

“He was kind of like a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Quinn said. “Of course Father Tolton was years before that, before Dr. King, but in the face of intolerance, in the face of racism, in the face of rejection, in the face of being slandered and being maltreated, all those things, he did not fight back. He lived out what Christ called us to do, and you don’t fight evil with evil, you fight evil with good.”

Now, with Father Tolton’s work well known, the first African-American priest in the United States is a candidate to be canonized in the Catholic Church, which would eventually lead to sainthood. But that journey, like Tolton’s life, is also an up-hill battle.

“It’s a long process, but the biggest challenge is that there has to be some sort of declaration of a miracle being performed,” Johnson said, “either in his life -- or there’s a prayer in Father Tolton’s memory and honor, and the thought, perhaps, is that if someone prays that prayer, and there isn’t an intervention and something occurs, that might be another way in which you could document a miracle having taken place.”

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