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Augustus Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program

Rooted in Chicago

The Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program at Catholic Theological Union is a one of its kind academic, scholarship, formation and mentoring program that prepares Black Catholic women and men for ministerial leadership in the Church.  The roots of the Tolton Program reach back into Chicago’s distinctive Catholic history.  In the late 1800’s, the first recognized Black Catholic priest in the United States, Augustus Tolton became the pastor of a vibrant Black Catholic parish.  The courageous and faithful path he walked as a priest and pioneer has inspired generations of Black Catholics to service in the Church.

A Pioneering Program

In 1989, response to the growing need for professional Black Catholic ministerial leadership, Sr. Jamie T. Phelps, O.P., Ph.D., then professor of doctrinal theology at CTU, envisioned this unique program.  With the support and in collaboration with CTU, the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Black Catholic community, the foundation was laid for the first men and women to begin their studies as Augustus Tolton Scholars in 1990. The program expanded in 2000 to include lectures and other events which showcase the theological scholarship and creativity of Black Catholic community.

The Components

Scholarships: The program provides full tuition scholarships for graduate theological study

Formation:  Formation provides a bridge that integrates the spirit and culture of Black Catholics with rigorous theological study

Mentoring:  Scholars receive support and guidance from ministerial leaders in the Black Catholic community.


  • Practicing Black Catholic
  • A Bachelor's degree or its equivalency
  • At least two years of service in the Church or Church related field
  • Must reside or work within the Archdiocese of Chicago
  • Commitment to serve for or on behalf of the Archdiocese of Chicago for three years after graduation
  • Three letters of recommendation - pastoral, academic, ministerial
  • Applicant must apply and be accepted to one of CTU's degree programs to receive scholarship

Please click here to download application. The application deadline is March 6, 2017.

For more information on the Tolton Program, please contact the director of the program:

Kimberly M. Lymore, D.Min.
Phone: 773-371-5440