Frt. Carl Gales, SVD, one of the nation’s few African-American seminarians, is set to be ordained to the transitional diaconate tomorrow at 2pm CT in Chicago.

The news was announced last month, shortly before his profession of perpetual vows on September 18th with his religious order, the Society of the Divine Word.

The ceremony is scheduled for 2pm CT at Our Lady of Africa Church, a newly merged parish formed over the summer from a number of historic Black congregations on the South Side—one of several such parishes formed during the same period.

OLA is the first parish in the nation under the patronage of Our Lady of Africa, making for a historic ordination in the Windy City.

The ordination will also be rare in that it will involve an African-American being ordained at the hands of a Black prelate—in this case Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry, who has served in Chicago since 1998.

Gales, a native of Phoenix, Ariz., entered formation with the SVDs in 2014 after a successful stint as a professional musician and parish music director. He later served at St Elizabeth's in Chicago, one of the Black parishes merged to form OLA.

An intercongregational affair, tomorrow’s event will involve four different religious communities, including two SVD candidates as well as one each from the Maryknolls, the Passionists, and the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity.

The ceremony will be livestreamed on the OLA Facebook page as well as on YouTube.


Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, a seminarian with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).


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