st. peter claver

In Cartagena, pope prays for Venezuela, denounces modern slavery

Pope Francis accepted flowers from a girl as he arrives to visit the Shrine of St. Peter Claver in Cartagena, Colombia, Sept. 10.

CARTAGENA, Colombia -- At the Church of St. Peter Claver, a saint venerated throughout the Americas as a champion of human rights, Pope Francis offered special prayers for Venezuela and its people suffering in the midst of a huge political and economic crisis.

"From this place, I want to assure my prayers for each of the countries of Latin America, especially for nearby Venezuela. I expressed my closeness to each of the sons and daughters of this beloved nation, as well as for those who have found in Colombia a place of welcome," he said Sept. 10 in Cartagena.

Knights of Peter Claver honor their patron saint

Knights of Peter Claver member Louis Coffman, left, greeted fellow Knight Vincent Wallace Sr. and Ladies Auxiliary member Ruby Douthet as worshipers shared the sign of peace at Mass Sept. 14 at St. Matthew the Apostle Church in The Ville neighborhood of north St. Louis.

In his homily at the Mass celebrating the feast day of St. Peter Claver, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson noted the prominence by which the saint was held by the pope who canonized him -- Pope Leo XIII.

"He said, 'Other than Jesus Christ, no one has ever moved me as much as Peter Claver has,'"Archbishop Carlson said.

So, yeah, Peter Claver ranks right up there. The Spanish Jesuit priest ministered to blacks sold into slavery in Colombia in the 1600s and has been a beacon for African-American Catholics in the United States.

A miracle links a saint and the Shrine of St. Joseph

Shrine of St. Joseph

Miraculous is a word often tossed around lightly, but in the case of Ignatius Strecker, a German immigrant living in St. Louis in the mid 19th century, the word has the weight of Vatican authentication.

Strecker's cure of injury and illness was accepted as a miracle for the canonization cause of St. Peter Claver, a 17th-century Spanish Jesuit who ministered to black slaves. The miracle occurred 150 years ago at what is now the Shrine of St. Joseph in north St. Louis. The shrine is planning to mark the anniversary with a Mass on March 16.

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Honoring St. Peter Claver

Seven-year-old Ryan Harper, a Junior Daughter of the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary, talked with her grandmother Carla Harper, not pictured, following a Mass dedicating the new Shrine of St. Peter Claver at St. Matthew the Apostle Church on June 23.

The saint hailed as the apostle to the blacks has a new place of honor here in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

A new shrine to St. Peter Claver has been erected at St. Matthew the Apostle Church in the historic Ville neighborhood of north St. Louis. Auxiliary Bishop Edward Rice presided at a blessing and dedication of the new shrine at a June 23 Mass.

Parishioners have said they believe it is the only shrine of its kind in North America.

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