QUINCY, Ill. – Bishop Thomas John Paprocki will celebrate a memorial mass for the 125th anniversary of the death of Fr. Augustus Tolton Friday, October 21, at 12:15 p.m., at the St. Francis Solanus Chapel located on QU’s Main Campus (1800 College Ave).

Born in 1854, Fr. Tolton’s family escaped slavery by crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois in 1862. Tolton was allowed to attend St. Peter’s Catholic School in Quincy, and he attended Quincy College, now University. He was ordained into the priesthood in Rome at the age of 31. He returned to the United States to become the first African-American priest. Fr. Tolton held his first public mass at St. Boniface Church in Quincy and became pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church and school. He was reassigned to Chicago to fulfill his calling to serve God.

“The significance of the Memorial Mass is to continue to pray for the canonization of Venerable Fr. Augustine Tolton,” said Fr. John Doctor, OFM, vice president for mission and ministry. “This celebration also calls to mind Fr. Tolton’s life story, especially his perseverance, in spite of many obstacles, to pursue his priestly vocation as the first African-American priest in the United States. We also celebrate the impact that he had on the Catholic communities of Quincy and Chicago.”

The celebrant of the memorial mass, the Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki, was installed as the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois in 2010. Bishop Paprocki received his MBA degree from the University of Notre Dame. He taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law from 1999 to 2015, and at Notre Dame Law School from 2016 to 2021. Bishop Paprocki joined the faculty of Quincy University’s Oakley School of Business as Adjunct Professor of Law, Business & Bioethics in 2022.

For more information, contact Fr. John Doctor, at doctojo@quincy.edu or 217-228-8020, x-3614.

Founded in 1860 by Franciscan friars, Quincy University is a small Catholic university emphasizing the sciences, liberal arts and the professions. Quincy University offers undergraduate, graduate and adult education programs integrating practical experience and Franciscan values. Faculty and advisors work with students to design customized success plans to help them graduate on time, find their passion and prepare them for life. QU is a member of NCAA Division II for intercollegiate athletics. For more information, please visit www.quincy.edu or contact the Office of Community Relations at (217) 228-5275 or communityrelations@quincy.edu. Quincy University. Success by Design.