The Knights of Peter Claver Council 225 in Portland announces a virtual event to highlight Black Catholics who are on the journey to sainthood in the Catholic Church. The Zoom-based event is slated for Thursday, Nov. 17, starting at 5:30 p.m. Pacific.

Five being considered for canonization are Sister Thea Bowman, the first African-American member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, and Julia Greeley, known as the city of Denver’s “Angel of Charity”— both have the title “Servant of God”; also, Mother Henriette Delille, founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family, Father Augustus Tolton and Pierre Toussaint. The latter three have the title “Venerable.”

“Some might find it hard to believe, but there are no African-American saints recognized officially by the Catholic Church,” writes Ralph E. Moore Jr. in The Black Catholic Messenger. Moore is a lifelong Black Catholic, educated by the Oblate Sisters of Providence and the Jesuits.

To highlight God's work in and through African-American Catholics, the Knights of Peter Claver Council 225 of Portland is offering the Zoom-based educational forum during this year's Black Catholic History Month in November.

“Watching this documentary and discussing it with my brothers has deepened my faith in a way I have not found in other small groups,” says the council’s Grand Knight Joey Sanson Jaraczewski. “Seeing Servant of God Thea Bowman shine was a discovery moment in my faith. I want to share this devotion with other Catholics.”

There is no cost to participate in the Zoom-based event. Donations will go to the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux to continue rebuilding efforts from extensive hurricane damage.

The Knights of Peter Claver organization was founded in 1909 in Mobile, Alabama. It is the largest African American Catholic lay organization in the United States.

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Daniel Murphy