The Supreme Knight's 2014 Claver Day Message
Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor
My Dear Friends in Faith,
MEMORIAL OF SAINT PETER CLAVER, PRIEST
“No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).
Earlier today at the Dean Acheson Auditorium at the U.S. Department of State, I joined other dignitaries from various faith traditions—including Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano—for the invitation only ceremony where U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Wednesday announced the appointment of Shaarik Humayon Zafar as the State Department’s new Special Representative to Muslim Communities in the United States and the international community.
In his opening remarks, Secretary Kerry reminded us of the commonality of the Abrahamic faiths particularly, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. As we each come to terms with the serious uncertainty in our world, let us remember that the real face of Islam is not the barbaric killings of the two journalists at the hands of extremists. Rather, let us remember the words of Saint John Paul II when speaking with young Muslims in Morocco thirty years ago, “Abraham is our very model of faith in God, of submission to His will and of confidence in His goodness.”
Saint Peter Claver, our patron, is our model of faith in God, submission to His will and of confidence in His eternal goodness. On Tuesday, September 9, the universal Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Peter Claver. Across the country, members of the Knights of Peter Claver will be commemorating him in some form or fashion over the course of the month. In light of everything happening in our world—to include the tragic circumstances of places like Ferguson—we must look to our patron, and reflect on the heroic virtues of the sixteenth century Spanish Jesuit and pious servant of the Gospel. As we reflect on Saint Peter Claver’s strong adherence to the virtues, we are able to recognize more fully how Saint Peter Claver lived his life in congruence with the teachings of our Lord.
A few years ago, in a message concerning this solemn feast of Order, I reiterated a statement of Christ, “No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). This statement encapsulates the reality that our whole family of Claverism has an outstanding example of the model Christian teacher. Saint Peter Claver never wavered in his fidelity to the Gospel message. He is the disciple who was like his Teacher. While it is likely that his work was not popular among many, his work was necessary. As well, our work to evangelize and to expand is very crucial to the mission statement Christ gave us, “Go make disciples!”
Last month, I was the keynote presenter for the Diaconate Convocation for the Diocese of Green Bay in Wisconsin. While there, I reminded the clergy that it is a whole new scene out there; the church many of us grew up with has changed; and we all have to change up the way we are doing things.
My message in Wisconsin is just as important to the whole family of Claverism. We must be ever attentive to advancing the cause of meeting the needs of young families, our youth, and young adults. Over the course of time between now and Founders’ Day (November 7), let us not only continue to urge one another to follow the example of Saint Peter Claver by being effective evangelizers ourselves, but also work to expand through effective retention, recruitment, and reclamation employing meaningful programming. Let us look through Saint Peter Claver to Christ from whom our help comes.
I wish you blessed commemorations of Saint Peter Claver. May your celebrations occurring this month be filled with the richness of God's abundant grace in your lives.
In Christ and Claverism,
F. DeKARLOS BLACKMON, Obl.S.B.
Supreme Knight and Chief Executive Officer