Father Augustus Tolton was the first identified black American ordained to the priesthood in the United States. He was born into slavery and escaped to freedom with his mother and siblings under harrowing circumstances. Throughout his life he displayed a great devotion to the Lord and the Catholic faith despite facing racism within the Church at nearly every turn. Still, he felt and preached that the Catholic Church's teaching that all people are children of God regardless of race made it the true church for African Americans in the United States following the Civil War. In Augustus Tolton, Joyce Duriga brings to light his quiet witness as a challenge to prejudices and narrow-mindedness that can keep us insulated from the universal diversity of the kingdom of God.
Joyce Duriga has served as editor of Chicago Catholic, the official newspaper for the Archdiocese of Chicago, since 2007. Prior to coming to Chicago, she was the associate editor of Our Sunday Visitor, a national Catholic newsweekly. She is the author of Helen Prejean: Death Row's Nun (Liturgical Press), and her work appears regularly in local, regional, and national publications.
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