The North Central District V Knights and Ladies Auxiliary of St. Peter Claver celebrated St. Peter Claver Day. It was hosted by Councils and Courts 160 and 374. The first group is comprised of members of Monroe’s Little Flower Catholic Church while the latter consists of members of Grambling’s St. Benedict the Black Catholic Church.
The Grand Knight and Grand Lady of Council and Court 160 are Donald Melancon and Mary Wilson, respectively. Douglas Porter and Youlia Rabon are the Grand Knight and Grand Lady of Council and Court 374.
The celebration began with a mass at Little Flower that was followed by a luncheon. The theme for the luncheon held in Monroe was Claverism: Through Christian Service.
St. Benedict’s David Ponton was the master of ceremony. The invocation and benediction were given by Father Adrian Fisher, pastor of Little Flower.
Before taking over at Little Flower, Fisher served at St. Benedict for many years. Many of his former members who attended the celebration were happy to see him.
Ponton recognized the councils and courts present. They were 91, St. James, Alexandria; 144, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Shreveport; 160, Little Flower of Jesus, Monroe; 169, Holy Ghost, Marksville; 174, Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Mansura; 202, Our Lady of Sorrows, Moreauville; 268, St. Juliana, Alexandria; 302, St. Christopher, Bunkie; and 374, St. Benedict, Grambling.
State Deputy Oscar Benoit was recognized and spoke.
“St. Peter Claver Day is a day on, not a day off. It is a day of service. It is a day to make a commitment to our communities. Today is a day to make change, and the change starts with you,” he said.
Paul Desselle, Bernice Allen, recording secretary and Blanche Rogers, assistant recording secretary, were recognized for their years of service.
Music was provided by Thais Morelos, who attends St. Benedict, and Little Flower’s choir.
Morelos sang Mahalia Jackson’s “If I can Help Somebody.” The choir sang the African American spiritual “Ride on, King Jesus” and Juanita Bynum’s “Jesus, What a Wonder.”
Peter Claver (June 26, 1580 – September 8, 1654) was a Jesuit who became the patron saint of slaves and African Americans. He declared himself “the slave of the Negroes forever.”
During his lifetime he baptized and instructed in the Faith more than 300,000 Negroes. He was beatified 16 July, 1850, Pius IX, and canonized 15 January, 1888, by Leo XIII.
His feast is celebrated on the ninth of September. On 7 July, 1896, he was proclaimed the special patron of all the Catholic missions among the Negroes.