The Augustus Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program provides an opportunity for Black Catholics to receive academic, personal, spiritual and professional preparation for ministry within and 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. CTU 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 (1854-1897), 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. 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.” – Venerable Augustus Tolton

The Formation Program

Formation has been a key component of the Tolton 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, and an annual retreat.

Formation serves as a bridge between theory and praxis, setting a foundation for ministry by integrating spirituality, theological understanding, and practical applicationwithin the context of the African American Catholic experience in Chicago and around the country.

Scholarship Opportunities

Generous scholarship funds are offered to support Tolton 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
In 2000, Kimberly Lymore decided to leave Corporate America and pursue full-time ministry. Kimberly is a member of The Faith Community of St. Sabina since 1983. She was appointed the full-time Pastoral Associate at The Faith Community of St. Sabina by the Rev. Michael L. Pfleger on September 1, 2000.

Kimberly is responsible for all the sacramental preparation of the children and adults. She is the team leader for Eucharistic Ministers. She is currently the Convener of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium, as well as being the Director of the Augustus Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program at Catholic Theological Union (CTU).

In 2003 Kimberly Lymore received her Master of Divinity with a concentration in Word and Worship from CTU and in 2009 she received her Doctor of Ministry from McCormick Theological Union. Her thesis article was titled, “God Doesn’t Tilt: Making the Connection Between Worship and Justice.” Her goal is to be obedient to the plan God has for her life and obedient to his Word.

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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