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Sat, 06.10.1854

The First Black Catholic Priest is Ordained

James A. Healy

On this date in 1854, James Augustine Healy was ordained in Paris, France, thus becoming the first Black priest in the Catholic Church.

Two brothers followed him and all three had to study abroad. James Healy became the first Black bishop of Portland, ME., in 1875.  Alexander Sherwood was ordained for the diocese of Massachusetts. Patrick Frances obtained his Ph.D. (the first Black) from Louvain University, Belgium, and became the first Black president of Georgetown University, Washington D.C.

The three brothers were sons of an Irish Plantation owner in Georgia and a slave woman.  Their sister Eliza, became a nun and notable school administrator.


Black First:
2,000 years of extraordinary achievement
by Jessie Carney Smith
Copyright 1994 Visible Ink Press, Detroit, MI
ISBN 0-8103-9490-1

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