The Augustus Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program provides an opportunity for Black Catholics to receive academic, personal, spiritual and professional education and training in preparation for professional ministry for the specific needs of Black Catholics, whether in predominantly Black Catholic or other spaces.

The legacy of Fr. Augustus Tolton is evident today through the commitment of men and women of African ancestry who are currently pursuing theological studies at Catholic Theological Union. Catholic Theological Union is unique in the field of theological education, offering classes in Black theology and Black Spirituality as well as a Certificate in Black Theology.

Augustus Tolton Scholarship Program

Augustus Tolton

The Tolton Program was named after Fr. Augustus Tolton, born in 1854, ordained in 1866, who was the first recognized African-American priest in the United States. In 1887, Fr. Tolton became pastor of the first Catholic Church for African American Catholics in Chicago. A tireless minister and man of God, Fr. Tolton died on July 8, 1897. In February 24, 2010, the Archdiocese of Chicago officially petitioned the Congregation for Causes of Saints to begin the process for investigation into the life of Fr. Augustus Tolton. Fr. Tolton’s status is now Venerable, moving him closer to sainthood.

“In this Church we do not have to fight for our rights because we are black. She had colored saints – Augustine, Benedict the Moor, Monica. The Church is broad and liberal. She is the Church for our people.” – Servant of God, Augustus Tolton

The Formation Program

Formation has been a key component of the ATPM Program since its inception. The formation program is designed to nurture the scholars’ identity as Black Catholic Lay Ministers through monthly theological reflections, gathering with other formation programs at CTU, as well as an annual retreat.

Formation serves as a bridge between theory and praxis. Formation sets the foundation and integrates spiritual formation, theological understanding and praxis, all within the context of the African American Catholic culture in Chicago and around the country.

Scholarship Opportunities

Generous scholarship funds are offered to support Romero scholars in their studies and formation at CTU. Scholarships up to 100% tuition are available for both full and part time students.

Full-tuition scholarships are available applicants living in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Applicants from the Archdiocese commit to minister in, or on behalf of, the Archdiocese of Chicago for three years following graduation.

Application Criteria

  • Have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent
  • Must be a practicing Black Catholic
  • Exhibits a sense of call to professional ministerial leadership within the Roman Catholic Church
  • Must be actively involved in church related ministry with movement/potential towards ministerial leadership

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Augustus Tolton Scholarship Program

Kimberly M. Lymore, M.Div., D.Min.
Director, Augustus Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program
Convener, Black Catholic Theological Symposium