Daughter of the Revolution: The Major Nonfiction Works of Pauline E. Hopkins

By Pauline E. Hopkins; Ira Dworkin | Go to book overview

Rev. John Henry Dorsey

J. Shirley Shadrach

On Saturday, June 21, 1902, in the Baltimore Cathedral, John Henry Dorsey, a Baltimorean, and a graduate of Epiphany Apostolic College, was raised to the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church, by his eminence Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore. On Sunday, the day following, Father Dorsey celebrated his first mass at St. Francis Xavier's Catholic Church, Calvert and Pleasant streets, being assisted by Rev. C. R. Uncles, the colored priest of Clayton, Delaware; Rev. J. A. St. Laurent, pastor of St. Francis Xavier's Church, and Rev. Louis Boulden a colored theological student at St. Joseph's Seminary; Rev. Charles Evers, of Brooklyn, master of ceremonies; Rev. John Green and Rev. John Planteville, acolytes.

The sermon was preached by Very Rev. J. R. Slattery, Superior of St. Joseph's Society for Colored Missions.

The church was crowded long before services began, and the aisles and gallery, as well as the steps leading to the gallery, were filled with those who preferred standing to missing the interesting event. The congregation was swelled by about four hundred persons who came over from Washington to witness the ceremony.

The choir had been augmented by additions from among leading singers in Baltimore and Washington, and under the leadership of Prof. Ambrose Briscoe rendered the music of the mass with exquisite taste.

At the end of the religious service, an informal reception was held in the Sunday School hall, and fully two thousand persons pressed forward and tendered Father Dorsey their sincere congratulations on the sacred honor conferred upon him by the Eternal Church.

Later in the day, Mr. Richard Wells gave an elaborate dinner in Rev. Dorsey's honor, and from five to seven P.M. a public reception was held on the veranda of his handsome residence on O street.

Among visitors from Washington were Register Lyons, Judge Terrell, C. Marcellus Dorsey, L. M. Hersham, J. W. Cromwell, Dr. U. S. Lofton, Harry S. Cummings, Willis Smith and Rev. Louis Boulden.

Father Dorsey enjoys the distinction of being the second Negro in the United States ordained to the Roman Catholic ministry. Rev. Charles R. Uncles was the first, at the hands of Cardinal Gibbons, in Baltimore, December 31, 1891. Rev. Father Tolton, who died in Chicago from sunstroke some years ago, was ordained at Rome.

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