Augustus Tolton was the first Roman Catholic priest in the United States publicly known to be black when he was ordained in 1886. A former slave who was baptized and reared Catholic, Tolton studied formally in Rome. He was ordained in Rome on Easter Sunday at the Cathedral Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. Fr. Tolton led the development and construction of St. Monica’s Catholic Church as a black ‘National Parish Church”, completed in 1893. Tolton’s success at ministering to black Catholics quickly earned him national attention within the Catholic hierarchy. “Good Father Gus,” as he was called by many, was known for his eloquent sermons, his beautiful singing voice and his talent for playing the accordion. He is the subject of the 1973 biography from Slave to Priest by Sister Caroline Hemesath.