Local/National Faith Briefs

Beginning Experience to offer ‘Coping With Life Alone’ series

Beginning Experience of SW MN/Marshall, a peer ministry support group for widowed, separated and divorced people is offering its “Coping With Life Alone” Series for 10 weeks beginning July 15. This series is designed for those wishing to work through the grieving process following the loss of a loved one. The Monday night sessions begin at 7 p.m. at the First Lutheran Church on Church and A streets in Marshall.

Registration will be held starting at 6:30 p.m. on July 15 and July 22. Registration is then closed for that session. The support group is open to people of all denominations. There is a $75 fee to cover the cost of materials.

If you wish to pre-register or have other questions, contact us at: swmnbe@gmail.com or call: Laurie W: 507-829-4004, Tim L.: 507-530-6379, MaryAnn S:507-828-2866.

1st black priest in US, ex-slave, positioned for sainthood

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Pope Francis on Wednesday deemed the first known black Roman Catholic priest in the United States to be “venerable,” positioning the former slave for possible sainthood.

The pontiff’s designation of the Rev. Augustine Tolton as venerable, meaning the church intensely scrutinized his life and recognizes it as one of “heroic virtue,” puts Tolton two steps away from possible canonization, the Diocese of Springfield explained in announcing the designation.

Born to a Missouri slave in 1854, Tolton, his mother and two siblings, with help from Union soldiers, eluded Confederate guns and escaped across the Mississippi River into Illinois in 1862, settling in Quincy, a river city about 110 miles northwest of St. Louis.

Baptized a Catholic, the faith of his family’s Missouri owners, Tolton studied for the priesthood in Rome because his race precluded his acceptance to a U.S. seminary.

“Father Tolton’s story, from slave to priest, is an incredible journey that shows how God has a plan for all of us,” Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Springfield Diocese said in a statement. “Father Tolton overcame the odds of slavery, prejudice and racism … (and) carried his crosses in life quietly and heroically.”

Work continues on Tolton’s history. If a miracle can be attributed to his ministry, the pope may declare him “blessed.” A second miracle would make him eligible for sainthood. The Springfield Diocese, which includes Quincy, and the Archdiocese of Chicago, where Tolton ministered to the poor before dying at 43 in 1897, have been working on his canonization since 2003.

Michael Patrick Murphy, director of Catholic Studies for Loyola University Chicago’s Department of Theology, said for Tolton to move from “Servant of God” in 2011 to “venerable” just eight years later indicates the seriousness of the church’s review. Reaching the “venerable” stage “kicks the machine into gear” as researchers search for miracles, a weighty and fact-reliant process, he said.

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