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Official canonization prayers for Black Americans

Venerable Henriette DeLille (1813-1862)

O good and gracious God, You called Henriette Delille to give herself in service and in love to the slaves and the sick, to the orphan and the aged, to the forgotten and the despised.

Grant that inspired by her life, we might be renewed in heart and in mind. If it be Your will, may she one day be raised to the honor of sainthood. By her prayers, may we live in harmony and peace, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Venerable Augustus Tolton (1854-1897)

O God, we give you thanks for your servant and priest, Father Augustus Tolton, who labored among us in times of contradiction, times that were both beautiful and paradoxical. His ministry helped lay the foundation for a truly Catholic gathering in faith in our time. We stand in the shadow of his ministry. May his life continue to inspire us and imbue us with that confidence and hope that will forge a new evangelization for the Church we love.

Father in Heaven, Father Tolton’s suffering service sheds light upon our sorrows; we see them through the prism of your Son’s passion and death. If it be your will, O God, glorify your servant, Father Tolton, by granting the favor I now request through his intercession (mention your request) so that all may know the goodness of this priest whose memory looms large in the Church he loved.

Complete what you have begun in us that we might work for the fulfillment of your kingdom. Not to us the glory, but glory to you, O God, through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are our God, living and reigning forever and ever. Amen.

Venerable Pierre Toussaint (1766-1853)

Lord God, source of love and compassion, we praise and honor You for the virtuous and charitable life of our brother in Christ, Venerable Pierre Toussaint. Inspired by the example of our Lord Jesus, Pierre worshipped You with love and served your people with generosity.

He attended Mass daily and responded to the practical and spiritual needs of friends and strangers, of the rich and the poor, the sick and the homeless of 19th-century New York.

If it is Your will, let the name of Venerable Pierre Toussaint be officially raised to the rank of Saint, so that the world may know this Haitian New Yorker who refused to hate or be selfish, but instead lived to the full commandments of heaven and the divine law of love—love for God and for neighbor.

By following his example and asking for his prayers, may we, too, be counted among the blessed in heaven. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Venerable Mary Lange (1779-1882)

Almighty and Eternal God, You granted Mother Mary Lange extraordinary trust in Your providence. You endowed her with humility, courage, holiness and an extraordinary sense of service to the poor and the sick. You enabled her to found the Oblate Sisters of Providence and provide educational, social and spiritual ministry, especially to the African-American community. Mother Lange’s love for all enabled her to see Christ in each person, and the pain of prejudice and racial hatred never blurred that vision.

Deign to raise her to the highest honors of the altar in order that, through her intercession, more souls may come to a deeper understanding and more fervent love of you.

Heavenly Father, glorify your heart by granting also this favor, (state your request), which we ask through the intercession of Your faithful servant, Mother Mary Lange. Amen.

Servant of God Thea Bowman (1937-1990)

Ever-loving God, by your infinite goodness, you inflamed the heart of your servant and religious Sister Thea Bowman with an ardent love for you and the people of God; a love expressed through her indomitable spirit, deep and abiding faith, dedicated teaching, exuberant singing, and unwavering witnessing of the joy of the Gospel.

Her prophetic witness continues to inspire us to share the Good News with those whom we encounter; most especially the poor, oppressed, and marginalized. May Sister Thea’s life and legacy compel us to walk together, to pray together, and to remain together as missionary disciples ushering in the new evangelization for the Church we love.

Gracious God, imbue us with the grace and perseverance that you gave your servant, Sister Thea. For in turbulent times of racial injustice, she sought equity, peace, and reconciliation. In times of intolerance and ignorance, she brought wisdom, awareness, unity, and charity. In times of pain, sickness, and suffering, she taught us how to live fully until called home to the land of promise. If it be your Will, O God, glorify our beloved Sister Thea by granting the favor I now request through her intercession, (mention your request), so that all may know of her goodness and holiness and may imitate her love for You and Your Church. We ask this through Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Servant of God Julia Greeley (1833-1918)

Heavenly Father, your servant Julia Greeley dedicated her life to honoring the Sacred Heart of your Son, and to the humble service or your children, especially the poor.

If it be in accordance with your holy will, please grant this favor I now ask through her intercession. (Mention your intercession.) I ask also, in the Name of Jesus, whose Sacred Heart filled Julia’s heart with love for all she met, that I may follow her example of humility and simplicity in loving you and my neighbor. Amen.

Servant of God Martin Maria de Porres Ward (1918-1999)

O Glorious Most High God, who deign to glorify in heaven the souls of those who served and glorified You on Earth, hear our prayers for [petition in silence]. And according to the design of Your Divine Providence, deign to glorify your Servant Friar Martin Maria, who by his love desired to offer his life for the education and service of the youth, the poor and the sick, that like our ‘compadre’ we too may progress in the service of the most needy. Amen!

Venerable Rafael Cordero (1790-1868)

Our Lord and God, You who inspired in your Servant, the Maestro Rafael, Puerto Rican layman, a burning zeal for the integral education of children and an enlightened charity for the poor and helpless, make me also know how to respond with generosity of service to the needs of those around me. I ask, if it is your will, that you concede the grace of (ask here for your need) so that your servant Rafael will be elevated to the altars. Amen.

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