The first Annual Gospel Mass, celebrating the Memorial of St. Peter Claver will be held on Thursday, September 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the historic chapel of All Souls Catholic Church, 800 South Oak Avenue in Sanford. The celebration is hosted by the Saint Martin de Porres Council and Saint Monica Court, #352 of the Knights of Peter Claver, an approved association of the faithful of the Diocese of Orlando.
Peter Claver was born June 26, 1580 in Catalonia at Verdú, Spain of noble parents. In 1604, he took the vows of the Society of Jesus in Tarragona. On March 19, 1616, he was ordained a priest in Cartagena, Colombia, South America. On April 3, 1622, he solemnly promised to be the ‘slave of the black slaves forever.’ Father Claver proved himself a friend and advocate to the slaves who landed in Cartagena every month. For almost forty years, he served tens of thousands of African slaves who embraced the Catholic faith because of his kindness. He died of plague at Cartagena in 1654. Pope Leo XIII declared Peter Claver a saint on January 15, 1888.