On Friday, September 9, the Church will celebrate the feast of St Peter Claver, the famed Spanish Jesuit whose life of service among enslaved Africans in Colombia has inspired much of the diaspora for centuries.
Countless churches in the United States bear his name, including many parishes associated with Black Catholics, who often have a special devotion to the patron of race relations and African-American ministry. The first two such churches in the world, St Peter Claver Catholic Church in Baltimore and the former church of the same name in San Antonio, were both founded in September 1888—just months after his canonization—with both staffed by Josephite priests.
The Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary, co-founded by the Josephites and now the largest Black Catholic organization in the US, is also under his patronage and encourages activities in his honor this weekend. Local KPC units will be especially active in their parishes and communities.
Below you will find a listing of many of the events taking place across the country connected to the self-proclaimed “slave of the slaves,” including Masses, conferences, service events, and more.
(Note: This list is not exhaustive. Please contact your local diocese, Black Catholic office, or a Black parish in your area for more information. We will also update this page and the BCM calendar as more events are announced.)
- 9/9: The USCCB’s National Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities, encouraging “activities that foster community, dialogue, and reconciliation.” Various resources are available online.
- 9/9-11: Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary patronal commemorations. Details on KPC website.
Archdiocese of Baltimore
- 9/9: Third annual St Peter Claver Lecture at Mount St Mary’s University in Emmitsburg at 4pm ET.
Diocese of Brooklyn
- 9/9: Memorial Mass with Bishop Robert Brennan and the Vicariate Office of Black Catholic Concerns at the Co-Cathedral of St Joseph at 7:30pm ET.
Diocese of Camden
- 9/10: Memorial Mass with the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Galloway at 2pm ET.
Diocese of Fort Worth/Diocese of Dallas
- 9/9-11: Claver Weekend with Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary Units #89 and #102. Saturday service events at 9am CT and picnic at 12pm. Joint turnout on Sunday at St Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Dallas at 9am, with breakfast to follow.
Archdiocese of Hartford
- 9/8: Memorial Vigil Mass with Fr Eduar Gutierrez at St Peter Claver Catholic Church in West Hartford at 6pm ET. Free Colombian dinner to follow.
Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux
- 9/9: Mass for Peace and Racial Harmony with Fr PJ Madden at St Joseph Co-Cathedral in Thibodaux at 7pm CT.
Diocese of Lake Charles
- 9/9: Annual Red Mass for justice with Fr Edward Richard at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 8:30am CT.
- 9/11: St Peter Claver Prayer Service at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church at 2:30pm CT. Reception to follow.
Diocese of Lansing
- 9/9: Memorial Mass at Christ the King Catholic Church in Flint at noon ET.
Diocese of Lexington
- 9/9: Memorial Mass with Fr Norman Fischer at St Peter Claver Catholic Church at 10am ET.
Archdiocese of New Orleans
- 9/10-11: African-American Catholic Men’s Retreat with St Peter Claver Catholic Church at the Corpus Christi-Epiphany Community Center.
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
- 9/11-13: “Walking with the Holy Spirit” revival with Fr Anthony Bozeman, SSJ at Corpus Christi Catholic Church. Memorial Mass on Sunday at 11am CT.
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).