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Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)
Saint Peter Claver, Patron of the Diocese of Lake Charles, and whose memory the Church honors on September 9, took seriously the Gospel call to act with mercy and treat others as brothers and sisters in Christ. As a Jesuit priest, he especially lived out this call through his dedicated ministry to African slaves as they arrived at the South American seaport of Cartagena, Colombia in the 17th century. He would eventually baptize 300,000 slaves giving them the gift of eternal life.
On Sunday, September 11, 2022, Bishop Glen John Provost led a prayer service, with Eucharistic Adoration, at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church honoring St. Peter Claver for his living out of the evangelical counsels — chastity, poverty, and obedience — and the Beatitudes. He personally nursed the sick, brought food to the slaves, and taught them religion.
“Peter Claver had only one agenda,” said Bishop Provost during his homily. “He wanted to give the captives the promise of a better life, not here, but in the world to come. He certainly gave them blankets to cover their nakedness, he fed their hunger with fruit …., but the heart and core of St. Peter Claver’s efforts was baptism. Above all, St. Peter Claver wanted eternal life for the slaves.”
True to his vow of being a “slave for the slaves forever,” Peter Claver allowed himself very little sleep or food. After suffering from poor health for many years, he was struck with severe fever and died September 8, 1654. St. Peter Claver was canonized in 1888 by Leo XIII. He is the patron saint of Colombia, slaves, missionary work to Africans, and seafarers. He was chosen as the patron saint of the Diocese of Lake Charles by the late Bishop Jude Speyrer, founding bishop.
“If Peter Claver could bring captives of injustice to savor the sweetness of the heavenly banquet, then they could be truly free,” continued Bishop Provost in his homily. “He thought in terms of the truth, not in politics. May St. Peter Claver continue to inspire us with the truth that he preached, the truth that was entrusted to him by Our Lord, Himself.”
Members of the Knights and Ladies of St. Peter Claver were present for the service along with clergy, other organizations and the lay faithful. A reception followed in the OLQH Family Life Community Center.
Saint Peter Claver, pray for us!
PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT: Morris LeBleu / Diocese of Lake Charles. To view more photos, follow Roman Catholic Diocese Facebook Page.

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