National Catholic Reporter
The Independent Newsweekly
Issue Date:  February 13, 2004


Americus M. Roy
First African-American deacon

Deacon Americus M. Roy, the first African-American to be ordained to the permanent diaconate and a longtime advocate for social justice, died in Baltimore Jan. 19 after a yearlong battle with liver cancer. He was 76. In more than 30 years of ministry he served in several Baltimore parishes, was active in youth ministry and prison ministry and was instrumental in establishing the Baltimore archdiocesan Office of African-American Ministries. After Pope Paul VI restored the permanent diaconate in 1967, he was among the first to apply. He was ordained in Baltimore on June 12, 1971, a member of the first class of deacons ordained in the United States.

Bill Hogan
Activist, former priest

Bill Hogan, 76, of Chicago, a long-time activist in civil rights and peace and justice issues, died of a heart attack on New Year’s Eve.

In 1961, Hogan organized a “wade-in” at beaches along the city’s Lake Michigan waterfront where African Americans were barred from swimming. He marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. against Chicago’s segregated housing and with Dick Gregory in anti-Vietnam war demonstrations. He was arrested with others in 1971 for pouring red dye in the Chicago River to protest the Vietnam War.

In 1971 he was suspended from diocesan duties for several years. He had to find employment to support himself, often driving a taxi. Later reinstated to the priesthood, he voluntarily left it in the early 1980s. In a 1973 article, the Chicago Tribune quoted Hogan as saying, “I thought the peace movement was a proper activity for a priest.”

Bishop George H. Speltz
Attended Second Vatican Council

Retired Bishop George H. Speltz, who headed the St. Cloud, Minn., diocese from 1968 to 1987, died Feb. 1 at St. Benedict Senior Community in St. Cloud. He was 91. Ordained as an auxiliary bishop for Winona, Minn., on March 25, 1963, Speltz attended three sessions of the Second Vatican Council and submitted three “interventions,” or comments, to the council -- one on seminary training and two on economic philosophy. He was named coadjutor bishop of St. Cloud in April 1966.

National Catholic Reporter, February 13, 2004

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