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Baltimore Church’s ‘Social Justice Committee’ Petitions Pope to Canonize First Black American Saint

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A group of Catholic activists in Baltimore is petitioning Pope Francis to ‘immediately’ canonize the first African-American saint, and have proposed six candidates for the title – all but one of whom were born into slavery or worked to abolish it.

Black saints from Africa and elsewhere have been canonized – but none from the United States.

‘It is embarrassing to many of us in America that in the church where we worship, there are no United States African American saints recognized by the highest church authorities,’ reads a petition written by the group and addressed to Pope Francis, which has garnered almost 900 signatures.

‘At 899 saints, you, as Pope, have canonized the most saints in Catholic Church history. It is time that African Americans ‘go marching in’ with that number,’ the petition adds.

The group, led by the social justice committee at St. Ann’s Church in East Baltimore, along with parishioners at local churches St. Francis Xavier and St. Wenceslaus, began their movement in November and have sent over 1,000 letters to the Vatican on December 14, 2021, the Religious News Service reported.

The candidates include two men and four women who have all already been recognized by the Vatican as either a Servant of God or Venerable, which are respectively the first and second major steps in the canonization process.

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Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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