Advancing Their Cause
Oversized photos of six Black Catholic men and women were carried in procession into Saint Ann’s Catholic Church in East Baltimore as the All Saints’ Day Mass began in 2021. Their names, along with a few biographical details, were called out, each one receiving enthusiastic applause: Augustus Tolton, Mary Elizabeth Lange, Henriette Delille, Pierre Toussaint, Julia Greeley, and Thea Bowman. Hailed as heroes, they await the culmination of the Church’s process that would declare them saints.
“What’s taking so long?” is the question some have been asking. An explanation can be found within the intricacies of the process. It includes an in-depth study and investigation into a candidate’s life, review upon review by a number of Vatican secretaries and offices, verifiable miracles, and raising the funds necessary to see the process through. All of this invariably takes time. However, the canonization process has been adjusted over the years to reduce the number of required miracles, shorten the wait time to initiate a cause after a person’s death, and to allow the beatifications to take place outside of Rome. Yet, even with these changes, the cause of the aforementioned seems to be taking a long time.
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