The theme was “It’s a Family Affair: Praising Loving and Living 2012” when about 200 African American Catholics and their friends gathered joyfully for the Sixth Annual Philadelphia Peter Claver Award Banquet held Nov. 18th at the Drexelbrook in Drexel Hill.
Sponsoring the gala were the Knights of Peter Claver and the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary, and the principal honoree was Father Stephen Thorne, pastor of St. Martin de Porres Parish, Philadelphia.
“I’ve been a member of the knights since my seminary days,” Father Thorne said. “Like any Catholic the members try to live their faith, serve the Church, particularly in the African American community, and ultimately become a saint.”
As for his reception of the 2012 Peter Claver Award, Father Thorne said, “I’m humbled and surprised. It means I’ve got to work harder to be a better person.”
The Knights were founded in 1909 in Mobile, Alabama, and were introduced to Philadelphia at the former Most Precious Blood Parish in 1976.
Today there are 12 councils and courts (ladies auxiliary) in Philadelphia, Camden and Wilmington, which come under the Philadelphia Central Committee.
“I’ve been in the Knights since 1999, I’m a member of St. Athanasius Council,” said Leonard Brooks, the President of the Philadelphia Central Committee. He noted at a recent induction ceremony that Archbishop Charles Chaput and Auxiliary Bishop John McIntyre joined their ranks.
“It’s one of the noblest orders of lay Catholic people,” Brooks said, “and it’s growing.”
The Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver “stimulate a lot of activity among African American Catholics,” said Father Rayford Emmons, who in 1974 became the first African American priest ordained for Philadelphia. “It’s a good model of what African American Catholics can do in reaching out to their community.”
In addition to the Peter Claver Award given to Father Thorne, Body of Christ Community Service Awards were presented to St. Joseph Sister Catherine Bones of St. Athanasius Parish, Elise Cannon of St. Ignatius Parish, James DeMoe of St. Barbara Parish, Jennifer Simmons of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish and Sister of Mercy Mary Scullion, cofounder of Project H.O.M.E.
Chaplains Awards, which are given to youths, were presented to Carmen Harris, Tyler Martin, Zipporah Ridley, Alvin Chiverton and Badiyah Parker, who was the subject of a Phaith magazine profile that may be read here.
Lou Baldwin is a freelance writer and a member of St. Leo Parish, Philadelphia.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103