QU to celebrate memorial Mass Friday on 125th anniversary of death of Father Augustus Tolton

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QUINCY — Bishop Thomas John Paprocki will celebrate a memorial Mass for the 125th anniversary of the death of Father Augustus Tolton at 12:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, at the St. Francis Solanus Chapel, 1800 College.

Born in 1854, Tolton’s family escaped slavery by crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois in 1862. Tolton was allowed to attend St. Peter Catholic School in Quincy, and he attended Quincy College. He was ordained into the priesthood in Rome at the age of 31. He returned to the United States to become the first African-American priest.

Tolton held his first public Mass at St. Boniface Church in Quincy and became pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church and School. He was reassigned to Chicago.

In a press release, Father John Doctor, vice president for mission and ministry, said, “The significance of the memorial Mass is to continue to pray for the canonization of venerable Father Augustus Tolton. This celebration also calls to mind Father Tolton’s life story, especially his perseverance, in spite of many obstacles, to pursue his priestly vocation as the first African-American priest in the United States. We also celebrate the impact that he had on the Catholic communities of Quincy and Chicago.”

Paprocki was installed as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in 2010. He received his MBA degree from the University of Notre Dame. He taught as an adjunct professor of law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law from 1999 to 2015 and at Notre Dame Law School from 2016 to 2021. Paprocki joined the faculty of Quincy University’s Oakley School of Business as adjunct professor of law, business and bioethics in 2022.

For more information, contact Doctor at doctojo@quincy.edu or 217-228-8020, ext. 3614.

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