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Chicago, Ill., Jan 6, 2018 / 03:37 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- If young adults proclaim the Gospel with clarity and conviction, they can produce spiritual fruits that can reach billions of people, Curtis Martin of the Fellowship of Catholic University Student… […]
Jackson, Miss., Aug 12, 2019 / 06:01 pm (CNA).- Mississippi’s Catholic bishops are speaking out against last week’s extensive Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids that targeted workers at food processing plants, rounding up and detaining nearly 700 undocumented immigrants.
Nearly 400 of those detained — some of whom left children behind on the first day of the new school year— have not yet been released.
“We can stand in solidarity to provide solace, material assistance and strength for the separated and traumatized children, parents and families. Of course, we are committed to a just and compassionate reform to our nation’s immigration system, but there is an urgent and critical need at this time to avoid a worsening crisis,” Bishops Joseph Kopacz of Jackson and Louis Kihneman of Biloxi said in an Aug. 9 joint statement together with representatives of the state’s Episcopal, Methodist, and Evangelical Lutheran Church of America communities.
ICE agents carried out raids on seven sites in Mississippi Aug. 7, rounding up as many as 700 undocumented workers. Officials have announced that around 300 of those detained have been released on humanitarian grounds, many of them parents who are now reunited with their children, CNN reports.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Jackson is asking for donations— both monetary and also items such as diapers, baby formula, household and school supplies, and hygiene kits— to help families affected by the raids.
“To say that immigration reform is a contentious and complex topic would be an understatement. As Christians, within any disagreement we should all be held together by our baptismal promises. Our baptism, regardless of denomination calls us to unity in Jesus Christ. We are his body and, therefore, called to act in love as a unified community for our churches and for the common good of our local communities and nation,” the Christian leaders said in their joint statement.
They echoed USCCB president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who wrote a letter to President Trump last month saying that ICE raids “cause the unacceptable suffering of thousands of children and their parents, and create widespread panic in our communities.”
“We can stand in solidarity to provide solace, material assistance and strength for the separated and traumatized children, parents and families. Of course, we are committed to a just and compassionate reform to our nation’s immigration system, but there is an urgent and critical need at this time to avoid a worsening crisis,” the Christian leaders said.
CNN spoke to Father Odel Medina at St. Anne Catholic Church in Carthage, about 50 miles northeast of Jackson, who said around 50 members of his congregation were detained in the raids. He called the raids a “disaster” for his parish, CNN reports.
Chicago, Ill., May 12, 2018 / 03:23 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The first African American priest in the U.S. could become the country’s first African American saint as his cause took another step forward this week.
A document summarizing the life, virtue, and alleged miracles of Servant of God Fr. Augustus Tolton, known as the positio, was unanimously approved as historically correct by a committee of six Vatican officials this week, clearing the way for the priest’s cause for canonization to continue moving forward.
Bishop Joseph N. Perry, auxiliary bishop of Chicago and diocesan postulator for the Tolton cause, called the approval a “very positive sign going forward” and noted its significance for the African American Catholic Community.
“Fr. Tolton lived during a particularly tumultuous time in American history especially for race relations,” Perry said in a statement.
“He was a pioneer of his era for inclusiveness drawing both blacks and whites to his parish in Quincy. However, due to his race, he suffered discrimination and condemnation. The beatification and canonization of Fr. Tolton will signal a significant milestone in the history of black Catholicism in the United States.”
Born in Missouri on April 1, 1854, John Augustine Tolton fled slavery with his mother and two siblings in 1862 by crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois.
“John, boy, you’re free. Never forget the goodness of the Lord,” Tolton’s mother told him after the crossing, according to the website of St. Elizabeth’s Church in Chicago.
The young Tolton entered St. Peter’s Catholic School with the help of the school’s pastor, Fr. Peter McGirr. Fr. McGirr would later baptize him and instruct him for his first Holy Communion. Tolton was serving as an altar boy by the next summer.
The priest asked Tolton if he would like to become a priest, saying it would take 12 years of hard study. The excited boy then said they should go to church and pray for his success.
After graduating from high school and Quincy College, he began his ecclesiastical studies in Rome, because no American seminary would accept him on account of his race.
On April 24, 1886 he was ordained in Rome by Cardinal Lucido Maria Parocchi, who was then the vicar general of Rome. Newspapers throughout the U.S. carried the story.
Fr. Tolton was ordained for the southern Illinois Diocese of Quincy. Upon his return in July 1886, he was greeted at the train station “like a conquering hero,” the website of St. Elizabeth’s Parish says.
“Thousands were there to greet him, led by Father McGirr. A brass band played church songs and Negro Spirituals. Thousands of blacks and whites lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the new priest wearing a black Prince Albert and a silk hat. People marched and cheered his flower-draped four-horse carriage. Children, priests and sisters left the school joining the procession heading towards the church.”
Hundreds waited at the local church where people of all races knelt at the communion rail.
Fr. Tolton served in Quincy before going to Chicago to start a parish for black Catholics. The new church was named for St. Monica and opened in 1893.
On July 9, 1897, Fr. Tolton collapsed during a hot day and died from sunstroke at the age of 43.
His cause for canonization was officially launched in 2010, and he was given the title “Servant of God” by the Vatican in February 2011. The research phase of his cause concluded on September 29, 2014.
The next step in his cause for canonization will be in February 2019, when a theological commission with the Congregation for Causes of Saints will further investigate his life and virtue, and consider granting him the title of “Venerable,” which must receive papal approval.
After that step, Tolton’s cause would move forward toward beatification, for which a miracle through his intercession must be approved.
More information about Fr. Tolton can be found on the website for his cause: www.toltoncanonization.org