Thursday, 27 July 2023 11:24

Hundreds honor Quincy's Venerable Father Tolton

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08 06 2023 tolton procession 1Hundreds honor Quincy’s Venerable Father Tolton

More than 200 pilgrims devoted to the Venerable Servant of God, Father Augustine Tolton, who grew up in Quincy, ministered in Quincy, and is buried in Quincy, commemorated the 126th anniversary of his death with a pilgrimage procession on July 9 in Quincy. Father Tolton is recognized as the first black priest in the United States and the Cause for his beatification and canonization of sainthood is ongoing in Rome. 

The mile-long pilgrimage procession began at the statue of Father Tolton outside St. Peter Church and concluded at St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery where Father Tolton is buried. Father Daren Zehnle (pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Ashland), shown in insert photograph incensing Tolton’s grave, presided, while Father Tom Meyer (pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy) preached.

08 06 2023 tolton procession 2Following Evening Prayer, the pilgrims prayed for an end to racism and for more priests through Father Tolton’s intercession, as well as for Father Tolton’s canonization as a saint. The pilgrimage procession concluded with the singing of Holy God, We Praise Thy Name, Father Tolton’s favorite hymn.

“Within the liturgy we often speak of the saints of those who ‘spent themselves’ in the service of God,” Father Zehnle said. “Father Tolton's example shows us how to do the same in humility and love.”

At the end of the gathering, Father Zehnle announced that a eucharistic procession that will be crossing the country from California to Indianapolis as part of the nationwide Eucharistic Revival going on now, will come through Quincy in the summer of 2024. The procession will go by Father Tolton’s grave.