Vatican, 12 July, 2020 / 7:20 pm (ACI Africa).
The fourth annual Quincy pilgrimage honoring Venerable Augustus Tolton, the first African-American priest, took place Thursday with the intention of overcoming racism.
Fr. Daren Zehnle, the founder of the Quincy pilgrimage and pastor of St. Augustine parish in Ashland, Ill., said Tolton pastored beyond racial barriers.
“He saw the dignity of people made in the image and likeness of God. That was a turning point for what he did. That is one of our goals - to help people rediscover that basic approach to other people is to see in them Christ the Lord and to try to minister to Jesus in that other person as best as we can,” Zehnle told CNA.
July 9 marked the 123rd anniversary of Tolton’s death. The mile-long pilgrimage in Quincy, Ill., began outside of St. Peter Catholic school and ended with a series of prayers at Tolton’s grave at St. Peter Catholic Cemetery. The pilgrimage is meant to spread the knowledge of Venerable Tolton and to pray for the advancement of his cause for canonization.
Fr. Zehnle said the death of George Floyd had a profound impact on him. In response, he prayed at Tolton’s grave during the protests. He then decided for this year’s pilgrimage to place an emphasis on overcoming racism.