September 9: St. Peter Claver & Pray for Peace

Memorial of St. Peter Claver, Priest, & National Day of Prayer for Peace

St. Peter Claver was a Jesuit missionary from Spain who, in the 1600s, served and ministered to captured and enslaved Africans as they were taken off the slave ships landing in South America. St. Peter Claver desired to offer his life as “a slave of the slaves.”1 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 will help open our minds and hearts more fully and continue the healing needed in our communities and our nation.”2
USCCB, Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, 4.Ibid, 30.(Photo: CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Racism and Life Issues

In their November 2018 Pastoral Letter Against Racism, Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, the U.S. Catholic bishops wrote, “racism occurs because a person ignores the fundamental truth that … all [humans are] equally made in the image of God.”1 Racism fails to acknowledge the dignity with which God creates each person, and it contributes to a culture of death. The Church in the United States has spoken out consistently against abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, the death penalty, and other threats to human life; it is not a secret that these attacks have severely affected people of color. These brothers and sisters are targeted for abortion, disproportionally affected by poverty, have the greatest numbers on death row, and are most likely to feel pressure to end their lives through assisted suicide when facing serious illness.2 The feast of St. Peter Claver is an opportunity to highlight the connection between racism and various attacks against human life. As St. John Paul II reminded us, “Where life is involved, the service of charity must be profoundly consistent. It cannot tolerate bias and discrimination, for human life is sacred and inviolable at every stage and in every situation; it is an indivisible good”3 (emphasis added.)

Verified by MonsterInsights