VIDEO UPDATE: BISHOP BRENNAN LEADS THE CELEBRATION OF A SAINT WHO SOUGHT INTERRACIAL JUSTICE THROUGH FAITH
The Most Reverend Robert Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn, led a special Mass in honor of the Memorial of Saint Peter Claver tonight at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, located in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn.
A native of Spain, St. Peter Claver left his homeland in 1610 to head to be a missionary in the New World colonies. St. Peter Claver then began a 40 year-ministry caring for African Americans arriving on slave ships in Cartagena, Colombia by providing them medical care and food. It is estimated that he baptized 300,000 slaves.
In his homily, Bishop Brennan focused on the importance for all of us to recognize the human dignity of all people as St. Peter Claver showed us. “People treated fellow human beings like commodities, and it wasn’t just the acts of kindness that St. Peter Claver performed, but he looked into the eyes of those suffering and who were being mistreated. What did he do? He looked into their eyes and saw Jesus,” said Bishop Brennan.
Bishop Brennan continued, “We ask the Lord to awaken within us that sense of the human dignity of every single person around us. And we ask the Lord, please God, let others see you in me, so that when they look at me, may they experience something of your love and help me where I fall short so that I can be more effective as a witness and sign of your love and compassion”.
The Mass also commemorated the 101st anniversary of the founding of Saint Peter Claver Roman Catholic Church in Bedford Stuyvesant, the first African American Church in the Diocese of Brooklyn. The Church was founded by Monsignor Bernard J. Quinn, currently under consideration for sainthood for his efforts to establish racial equality.
Father Alonzo Cox, Coordinator for Vicariate for Black Catholic Concerns for the Diocese of Brooklyn, concelebrated the Mass. The Knights and Ladies Auxiliary of Saint Peter Claver, who work to promote civic and social justice, award scholarships, and nurture youth and family relationships, were in attendance.
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