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placeholder September 9, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 15   •   Oakland, CA
Sept. 9 feast of St. Peter Claver

Hardly a day passes without national news of human trafficking related to sex, drugs or mercenary greed. Many people are not aware that St. Peter Claver is not only the patron saint of social justice, but also the patron saint for victims of human trafficking.

Many of these unfortunate victims are our children and are not aware that God has provided intercessory aid via our prayers and St. Peter Claver.

St. Peter Claver was born of noble and well to do parents in Verdu, Spain on June 26, 1580. He was ordained a Jesuit priest on Aug. 7, 1602 at the age of 22, and was assigned to Cartagena, Colombia, in South America on March 19, 1616. Cartagena is a port state of Colombia that was a viable part of the "Middle Passage," where thousands of African, Asian, Central and South American victims of human trafficking passed through every month en route on the great world diaspora of indigenous people.

By the "Apostolate of Presence," Father Peter Claver proved himself a friend and an advocate to these poor people. He braved social ostracism, sneering and criticism by ministering to the ill, wounded and tortured people by cleaning their wounds, feeding and clothing them. After 40 years of serving Christ, more than 300,000 indigenous people had embraced Christianity and were baptized by St. Peter Claver and his followers, prior to their being dispersed throughout the world in slavery.

Father Peter Claver completed his stay on earth on Sept. 8, 1654. He was canonized a saint by Pope Leo XIII on Jan. 15, 1888. We celebrate the feast day of St. Peter Claver on Sept. 9, as Sept. 8 is the feast of the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Peter Claver was the first priest in the new world to be canonized. The peaceful cloister, museum, church and shrine of St. Peter Claver is located in Cartagena.

A Catholic fraternal order, the Knights of St. Peter Claver, furthers its goals of support for the clergy and the community through its Councils, Courts, Junior Knights and Junior Daughters.

The Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary are honored to collaborate with the Sisters of the Holy Family in support of all victims of human trafficking; and are honored to represent St. Peter Claver, our patron saint of Social Justice.

We are now recruiting sincere applicants; for more information, please contact Knight Willis or Knight Harper at 415-385-8307.

(Regina Wilkerson is lecturer, Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary Court 127 at St. Anthony Parish, Oakley.)

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