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Black Catholics in America
Father Augustus Tolton
Oblate Sisters of Providence are founded in Baltimore to educate black Catholic children.
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Augustus Tolton’s parents were slaves in Missouri where their Catholic owner baptized them. His father joined the Union Army and was killed. His mother rowed Augustus and his brother across the Mississippi river to Illinois and freedom. When Augustus wanted to study to become a priest, no seminary in the United States would let him enroll. He went to
Rome and studied to be a missionary priest. But the pope sent him back home to Illinois. Many people did not think a black man should be a priest and made life very hard for Father Augustus. Today, there are 250 African-American priests in the United States and 8 active black bishops. There are more than 3 million African-American Catholics in the United States.
Augustus Tolton is ordained in Rome. He becomes the pastor of Saint Monica’s parish in Chicago. Father Tolton is recognized as the  rst African American priest in the United States.
James Augustine Healy, son of a white father and a slave mother, is ordained a priest in Paris. He becomes bishop of Portland, Maine.
PFLAUM GOSPEL WEEKLIES Faith Formation Program
January 28, 2018
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Spanish governor invites 11 families to settle 1781 onthePorciúnculaRiver,theareathatisnowLos Angeles. Black Catholic families are among the 11.
Share Experiences
Objectives l The children will:
l Recognize the history of black Catholics in the United States.
l Discover how people working together can inspire others to act with justice.
Gather in a prayer circle. Ask for a volunteer to place the class Bible at the center of your ritual space. Play and sing “Blest Are They” (CD-2, #11). Lyrics are available at
Gathering Prayer Pray the following prayer to conclude your singing: Jesus, we gather here in your name to learn more about God’s love for us and how we can respond with all our hearts. Be with us today. Help us listen to each other and learn how to share your love. Amen.
Cover Activity l Black Catholics in America (page 1) Black History Month begins this week. Give the children time to read the cover copy on their own. Ask which fact most surprised them.
Article-Drama l We Will Stand Up for Each Other, But We Won’t Stand on the Bus
(pages 2–3) Choose two volunteers to act as the Narrators. Ask for five volunteers to play the Passenger parts. Consider setting up chairs for Chorus 2 to use as a “bus.” If you wish, you can have the five Passengers make protest signs to carry. Read through the play to get a feel for it. Then present it.
Turn to the Think questions on page 3 to discuss the play. Answers: 1. They were disrespected and treated unfairly. Some accept the rules silently; others refuse
to comply. Everyone eventually decides to stop riding the busses
in Montgomery in protest. 2. The WPC communicated when the boycott would start by printing flyers and spreading the word. 3. Solidarity; everyone standing together and not giving in made the boycott work. Note: Jo Ann Robinson wrote The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It (The University of Tennessee Press, 1987) to keep the women’s story alive.
Discover Gospel and Doctrine
Objectives l The children will:
l Discover the type of authority Jesus possessed.
l Appreciate that all people are welcomed by God. TG3-10
l Recognize their Catholic faith calls them to respect others. l Learn about the stories of Africans in the Bible.
Move to the area you have set up for the Gospel reading. As you prepare the children to read this Sunday’s Gospel, play “Word of Truth and Life” (CD-1, #1).
Gospel Ritual Jesus Brings Healing (page 4) Have six students take parts and proclaim the Gospel in drama form.
Discuss the Think questions on page 4. Answers:
1. Perhaps a type of mental illness that made it impossible for the man to be in contact with God’s love. A person who
hates other people because of their country of origin or the color of their skin may also have an unclean spirit and be unable to let the good in. 2. Healing and wholeness. 3. The authority and power of the Kingdom of God. 4. Love of God.
Connecting Gospel and Doctrine l No One Is Outside God’s Love (page 4) This is a topic that will likely generate a lot of discussion. Children at
this age like to follow rules and do not wish to be embarrassed or called out. God cares about people whether they act appropriately or “cool.” No one is excluded by God.
Discuss the Think questions on page 4. For question 1, accept all answers; children at this age likely have encountered someone who is not able to control the level
of his/her voice or outbursts, whether in school or other settings. Assure them it’s okay to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, but God calls us to show compassion and acceptance. 2. The Church is home to everyone. We are called to welcome the least among us. Every person is a member of the Body of Christ.
Distribute the children’s What the Church Believes and Teaches handbooks.
Teaching This Week’s Lesson
The NEW Gospel Weeklies
PFLAUM GOSPEL WEEKLIES Faith Formation Program
What the Church Believes and Teaches
The Common Good (page 32) Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching (page 51)
This is a topic the children will have plenty of opinions about. They are very aware of unfairness, particularly as it relates to their concerns.

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