Let the Church Say Amen
Jesus Christ is asking each of us to invite more people to a true encounter and lifelong relationship with Him as His disciples. It is an element of our own baptismal rite to do so. Our evangelization efforts will require us to identify new, outward-reaching ways to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world given significant societal shifts over the past decades.
Dr. King Celebration Speaker Series: Sarah Collins Rudolph

Sunday, January 12, 2020
11:15 a.m. 

St. Sabina
1210 West 78th Place

Chicago, IL 60620

Known as the "Fifth Little Girl", Sarah Collins Rudolph is one of the many unsung heroes from the Civil Rights Movement. On September 15,1963, a bombing occurred at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama which resulted in four girls being murdered and Sarah Collins Rudolph being injured and blinded. 

All are invited to see Sarah speak on how she discovered God and overcame the pain and addiction that resulted from the bombing. Sarah is more than just a survivor - she is an an advocate for black people and devout Christian who practices what she believes in. 
It Takes a Village
We must help our parishes and schools have adequate resourcing for vitality inclusive of finances, facilities, and leadership. Our renewal efforts must focus on new ways to create vibrant parish life, including compelling liturgies and the seven signs of parish vitality.
42nd Annual African American Prayer Service

Friday, February 28, 2020
9:30 a.m.

St. Rita of Casica Chapel
6243 South Fairfield Avenue 

Chicago, IL 60629

Save the date for the 42nd Annual African American Prayer Service, which will take place on Friday, February 28 at the St. Rita of Casica Chapel! More information to come. 

Mass Celebrates Father Tolton's Step Closer to Sainthood

By Joyce Duriga

Hundreds of people turned out to celebrate Pope Francis declaring Father Augustus Tolton “venerable” during a Mass with Cardinal Cupich Oct. 14 at St. Philip Neri Church, 2132 E. 72nd St.

The promulgation of the decree by the pope declaring Tolton “venerable,” which was announced June 11, means his life was formally recognized as demonstrating the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity and the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance at a heroic level.

Tolton is two steps away from possible sainthood. Once it is confirmed that one miracle has been granted by God through the intercession of Tolton, he will be declared “blessed.” For canonization, a second miracle is generally required unless the pope waives that requirement.

Two possible miracles through Tolton’s intercession have been sent to Rome for review, according to Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry, postulator of the cause. That Tolton has moved closer to sainthood drew many to the Mass to celebrate.

“I’m really happy that they are looking at his life and the things that he has done,” said Velma Barker-Hill of Holy Angels Parish. “Just to think that a miracle may have been performed in his name is something that really touched my heart.”

Barker-Hill said that as an African American herself, she has enjoyed learning about Tolton, who was the first native-born, African American man ordained a priest for the United States. “It is just remarkable and I’m always glad to hear about another saint, especially because he is African American,” she said. “I think it brings unity among us and this shows that we are all made in God’s image and likeness, that we’re very proud to be Catholics.”

Lisa Lease Adams of St. Katharine Drexel Parish learned about Tolton through people at her parish and, after studying his life, came to admire what he did for black Catholics. “Father Augustus Tolton was a very special man,” she said, adding that she looks forward to his canonization. “That would mean the world to me because things that we have worked for, they finally mean something. He died for things that need to be done.”

Franciscan Brother Raphael Ozoude is on the path to priesthood and draws inspiration from Tolton in his vocation. “I’m very inspired by his example of being the first black American to be ordained to the priesthood. I think in many ways he has inspired people like me. It’s very nice seeing someone who looks like you and who has been there … and who is preaching the Gospel,” Ozoude said.

Ozoude said Tolton’s canonization would be a positive thing for the Catholic Church. “I think it will show the world at large that there are a lot of black Catholics in the country because many people think that black Christians are Baptists or Methodists,” he said. “To see that the church actually comprises us and values us as one of the beloved people would inspire many to come and see the church really is catholic, every culture is valued here.”

Tolton was born into slavery in 1854 on a plantation near Brush Creek, Missouri. Before the end of the Civil War, his mother, Martha, fled slavery with her three children and settled in Quincy, Illinois.

There, Tolton was encouraged to discern his vocation to the priesthood by diocesan and Franciscan priests. However, he was denied access to seminaries in the United States after repeated requests, so he pursued his education in Rome at what is now the Pontifical Urbanian University.

Tolton was ordained for the Propaganda Fidei Congregation in 1886, expecting to become a missionary in Africa. Instead, he was sent to be a missionary in his own country and returned to Quincy.

After facing discrimination and racist taunts from local priests, he accepted Archbishop Patrick Feehan’s request to minister to black Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1889.

Tolton spearheaded the building of St. Monica Church for black Catholics and worked tirelessly for his congregation, even to the point of exhaustion. On July 9, 1897, he died during a heatwave at the age of 43.

Cardinal Francis George announced Tolton’s cause for canonization in 2010.

Can I Get A Witness? 
The Holy Spirit is urging all of us to be witnesses to the compassion and redemption of Jesus Christ. We must come together in solidarity and bring the light and hope of Christ to a world in need.
Father George Clements Memorial Celebration

Sunday, January 26
2:30 p.m.
St. Sabina Church
1210 West 78th Place
Chicago, IL 60620

All are invited to honor the life of Father George Clements at a memorial celebration on Sunday, January 26.

All singers who loved Father Clements are invited to be a part of the Father Clements Memorial Choir that will perform at the service. If you plan on singing in the Father George Clements Memorial Choir, please email Tyrone Pittman at by January 20, 2020. 
26th Annual Archbishop James P. Lyke African American Male Image Awards

Sunday, February 23, 2020
2 p.m.
Georgios Banquets
8800 West 159th Street
Orland Park, IL 60462

Join the Knights of Peter Claver, Ladies Auxilary of St. Felicitas - St. Ailbe Court #181 for the 26th Annual Archbishop James P. Lyke, OFM African American Male Image Award Luncheon on Sunday, February 23rd at Georgios Banquets. 

Come and join us as we celebrate and honor outstanding men and high school seniors for their service to the Church, school and community. Tickets are $50. 

Please call 773.259.6355 or email for more information. 
Interested in Expanding Your Agency's Staff Capacity? The Ignatian Volunteer Corps Can Help Carry Out Your Mission!

The Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC) provides mature men and women the opportunity to serve the needs of people who are poor, to work for a more just society, and to grow deeper in Christian faith by reflecting and praying in the Ignatian tradition. IVC works in partnership with hundreds of community service organizations across the country.

To inquire, please contact Jacqueline Fitzgerald at 312.961.6206 or
Semi-Retired? Retired? Open the Doors of Your Heart!
The Ignatian Volunteer Corps may be for you! Members of this Jesuit service program volunteer in poor and marginalized communities two days per week (September-June), grow deeper in their Christian faith by reflecting and praying in the Jesuit Catholic tradition, and meet monthly with other IVC members and a spiritual reflector. IVC members serve as tutors, employment counselors, food pantry volunteers, elderly companions, hospital chaplains and more!  Detailed information is online at (click on ‘Chicago’). To inquire, please contact Jacqueline Fitzgerald at 312.961.6206 or

Visit the Black Catholic Initiative Webpage
Visit the Archdiocese of Chicago Augustus Tolton Webpage
Click Here by Thursday, January 30 to Appear in the February Issue of The Drum!
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