The Knights of Peter Claver Celebrate 111th Anniversary

The Knights of Peter Claver, the largest historically African American Catholic lay organization in the United States, celebrated its 111th Anniversary Saturday, November 7, 2020 in a mass that was live streamed via the internet.

The Knights of Peter Claver were founded Nov. 7, 1909 in Mobile, Alabama by three laymen and four Josephite Fathers as a fraternal organization composed primarily of black Catholics, dedicated to the principles of Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity. Among its noted members include Father John H. Dorsey, SSJ, the second African-American Catholic priest to be educated and ordained in the United States.

The group takes their name from St. Peter Claver. St Calver was a Spanish Jesuit priest who ministered to enslaved peoples of African descent in Cartagena, Colombia, which was a major port in the slave trade during the 17th century.

Currently headquartered in New Orleans, the fraternal order boasts more than 18,000 members and affiliates worldwide, spread across over 400 units in 72 dioceses in the United States and Latin America. The organization has a Ladies’ Auxiliary and separate junior divisions for boys and girls.

The Knights of Peter Claver support various parish, diocesan and community efforts, including serving the poor, creating Catholic community and forming youth. They have worked alongside the National Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for the advancement of civil rights.

Membership is open to practicing Catholics of all races and ethnicities.  Chapters and affiliates support the work of local dioceses through acts of charity and compassion, partnering with social justice groups like the National Urban League and NAACP.

Currently, one of order’s members, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. is a Cardinal-designate, slated to become the first African-American cardinal in history at a Nov. 28 consistory in Rome.To Learn more about the Knights of Peter Claver, please visit their website

Source: The Catholic Telegraph