Fr Alvin Gerard Jordan, O. Praem, a nationally-known Black Catholic priest who worked closely with the sainthood cause of Venerable Augustus Tolton, passed away in Louisiana this week after a brief battle with COVID-19. He was 54 years old.
Jordan was on a three-year term of service in the Diocese of Lafayette, beginning in October 2020 at St Edward Catholic Church in New Iberia, Louisiana. His most recent assignment was with the Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, where he had served as a chaplain since March.
“Heaven welcomed one of its greatest warriors in faith, ministry, mission and friendship,” said OLL spokesperson Trevis R. Badeaux on social media Wednesday morning.
“His friendship was a true blessing. His unexpected passing from this life is heart-wrenching. But, I have no doubt he is in the Father’s arms enjoying the promise that awaits us all.”
A native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Jordan was born in 1967 and graduated from St. Louis Catholic High School before serving in the US Marine Corps. He studied at Cabrini University and LaSalle University in Pennsylvania, and also owned multiple businesses, married, and became a father.
After retiring from his entrepreneurial enterprises, Jordan entered postulancy with the Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré, also known as the Premonstratensians or Norbertines, in 2007. He then served at Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, Pennsylvania for more than a decade, making his solemn profession in 2014.
An active member of the National Black Catholic Seminarians Association, Jordan received his Master of Divinity from Catholic Theological Union that same year and was ordained to the priesthood at the abbey two years later.
He maintained his connections to the Archdiocese of Chicago, where he began assisting Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry with the Tolton cause shortly after its inception, being appointed special assistant while still a seminarian in 2013. He was later elevated as the official promoter by Perry and Cardinal Francis George, OMI, after which Jordan conducted events around the country promoting Tolton’s legacy and Black Catholicism.
This work would culminate in Jordan’s founding of the Tolton Spirituality Center in 2020—which utilizes the inspiration of Tolton to help Black parishes “sustain a movement for a more mission-focused and community-orientated Church.” Notably, the TSC also received a $1M grant from the Lily Foundation to bolster its work.
This spring, Jordan inaugurated the Gulf Coast chapter of the TSC, while also celebrating the first annual Tolton gala outside of Chicago—ahead of the 125th anniversary of Tolton’s death. At the time of his death, Jordan served as the TSC’s executive director.
“He co-founded the Tolton Ambassadors, a corps of volunteers dedicated to promoting the cause for canonization of Fr. Tolton,” reads an announcement on the Tolton cause’s official Facebook page.
“We miss him and his infectious spirit already.”
Jordan’s funeral has been scheduled for October 8 at his family parish, Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Lake Charles at 12pm CT, with a viewing beforehand beginning at 8am and a Rosary at 10:30am.
Jordan is survived by a number of family members, including children and grandchildren, and memorial contributions can be made through the Combre Funeral Home website.
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).