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.
Showing of the Tolton Movie: Across

Sunday, December 29
3 p.m.
St. Benedict the African - Martin Luther King Room
6550 South Harvard Street
Chicago, IL 60621 

Join the Archdiocese of Chicago and the local community for a screening of the movie Across, the feature film story of Father Augustine Tolton. The screening will feature the first 36 minutes of the movie as a stand-alone short film, which tells the story of little Gus's successfully attempted escape from slavery in 1863 with his family. The movie features the Tolton family and little Gus and brings them to life through the big screen. For more information and instructions on how to purchase tickets, please click here

Cost of Admission
Early Bird Ticket - $10
General Admission (at the door) - $12

Registration for NCYC is Now Open!

Thursday, November 21 - Sunday, November 24 
Lucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis, IN

High schoolers are invited to join 30,000 of their peers at the National Catholic Youth Conference this November. This electrifying pilgrimage is fill with opportunities for worship, music, speakers, a thematic park, and more. 

For more information please contact your Youth Ministry, Campus Minister, or Pastor, or click here. Scholarships are available for those who qualify and all attendees must be registered by September 20, 2019. 
42nd Annual African American Prayer Service

Friday, February 28, 2020
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. 
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.
Taking Down Our Harps: Black Catholics in the United States Study Session Series

Every Tuesday Night in November
Holy Name of Mary Church
11159 South Loomis

Chicago, IL 60643

In honor of Black Catholic History Month in November, there will be a four week study session on the book Taking Down Our Harps: Black Catholics in the United States by Diana Hayes and Cyprian Davis. Please join us in this study session to learn about the impact of African Americans in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. 

For more information please contact Gardis Watts at 773.547.5771 or

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.
St. Katharine Drexel Masquerade Ball 

Sunday, November 10
4 p.m. - 9 p.m. 

St. Katharine Drexel Parish will be hosting a Masquerade Gala on Sunday, November 10, 2019. This Gala event offers an elegant evening of fine dining, music, raffles, drinks and fellowship. All proceeds will benefit a mission trip that will take place in July 2020. Ticket cost is $85.00 per Adult and $40.00 per Youth.  Tickets will go on sale September 1, 2019 – November 3, 2019 and you can by your ticket online at at The Royal Affair Masquerade Gala.

For more information regarding this elegant celebration as well as being a sponsor for one of St. Katherine Drexel's youth, please contact Kianda Boyd at or  773.374.2345. 
Our Sunday Best Annual Choir and Dance Concert

Sunday, November 10
3 p.m.  

Our Lady Gate of Heaven Church
2330 East 99th Street 
Chicago, IL 60617

Our Lady Gate of Heaven presents Our Sunday Best, the annual choir and dance concert featuring some of their best songs and soloists. The concert will feature Our Lady Gate of Heaven's choirs and liturgical dancers. Love offerings are accepted as admission.

26th Annual Archbishop James P. Lyke African American Male Image Awards

The Knights of Peter Claver, Ladies Auxilary of St. Felicitas - St. Ailbe Court #181 are seeking to honor men who have shown the qualities of Leadership, Christian Values, Dedication to the Community and Community Service.

If you know someone deserving of this recognition and would like to nominate them to receive this award, please call Dedra DeLaney at 773.259.6355 or email for more information. 
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 Wednesday, November 27 to Appear in the December Issue of The Drum!
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