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Regional gathering on feast of St. Peter Claver

August 28, 2015

The Northern California Inter-Council and Courts, a regional organization of the Knights of Peter Claver Inc. and the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies’ Auxiliary, will celebrate the feast of St. Peter Claver on Sunday, Sept. 13, with a gospel Mass at 12:15 p.m. at St. Boniface Church in San Francisco.

The umbrella organization for men and women Knights of Peter Claver groups from 11 parishes in San Francisco, East Palo Alto, Oakland, Richmond and Sacramento, the Inter-Council and Courts supports the parish groups through prayer, community service, fundraising and fellowship.

The September “turnout” is hosted by the Sacred Heart Council and Court #296, domiciled at St. Boniface. The tradition of the turnout stems from the earliest days of the order, when regular attendance at Sunday Mass (especially for men) was not common. Annual events were designated as times when the members should dress alike, attend Mass, and receive Communion together.

“KPC is a family-oriented organization that moved here from the South,” said Levert Horner of Vallejo, the Inner Guard for Council #296. “Now we need more young people. We have to get out there and teach them what it is all about.”

The Knights of Peter Claver Inc. was founded in Mobile, Alabama, in 1909 to provide a fraternal and social organization for “colored” Catholic men who, due to the “separate but equal” policies in the United States at the time, were denied entry in other fraternal organizations.

The order maintains the African-American Catholic tradition in cities throughout the nation while reflecting the multicultural face of the 21st-century Catholic Church. Particularly here in California, Catholics from all ethnic backgrounds are drawn to the spirit of service to the church. The most recently established unit in Los Angeles (#400) is primarily Latino.

Father Ken Westray, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in San Francisco and chaplain of the Sacred Heart Council, will preside at the Mass. Father Kirk Ullery, chaplain of the Sacred Heart Court, and Franciscan Father Tommy King, pastor of St. Boniface, will concelebrate. The Sacred Heart Gospel Choir – now in its 41st year offering traditional and contemporary gospel music within the Mass – will sing.

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