The Church celebrates the feast day of St. Peter Claver on Sept. 9. Known as the Slave of Slaves, St. Peter Claver tended to the physical and spiritual needs of enslaved Africans arriving in the city of Cartagena in South America in the early part of the 17th century. 

“He would greet the slaves by giving them a drink of water. His first concern was to tend to their human needs—to ease their suffering and somehow restore their sense of dignity. He saw the suffering Jesus in the people he served. And he heard in their cry: “What you do for others, you do for me.” (excerpt from “Saint Peter Claver” by Loyola Press)

Each year on the feast of St. Peter Claver, we are invited to celebrate in a special way by engaging in prayer and action to help bring about peace in our communities. In particular, as our society continues to struggle with the evil and sin of racism, we can, through the intercession of St. Peter Claver, come together to pray for healing, atone for the Church’s and our past personal sins of racism, seek forgiveness, and call on the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us in continuing to work for peace and racial justice.

Catholics of the diocese are encouraged to take the following actions:

Se les invita a los católicos de la diócesis a tomar las siguientes acciones:

Additional resources

Watch Bishop Walkowiak’s homily from the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Racial Healing, Sept. 9, 2020
Remembering the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (with resources on the pursuit of justice, peace and an end to racism)

From the Vatican

Pope Francis’ Angelus Message on St. Peter Claver (English | Español) (Sept. 10, 2017)
Pope Francis’ Homily for the Mass of the feast of St. Peter Claver (English | Español) (Sept. 9, 2017)

From the USCCB

The U.S. Catholic bishops suggest that parishes could use the National Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities, which falls on the feast of St. Peter Claver (September 9), to organize activities that foster community, dialogue, and reconciliation. These encounters can help open our minds and hearts more fully and continue the healing needed in our communities and our nation. Reference the following resources in your planning, or click here.

Prayer service for the feast of St. Peter Claver
Stations of the Cross: Overcoming Racism
Responding to the sin of racism
Practical steps for eradicating racism
Five ways to cultivate peace and work for racial justice (We are Salt and Light, USCCB)