St. Peter Claver to host prayer service for racial justice and peace

| August 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

People packed St. Peter Claver in St. Paul, pictured in this 2016 file photo, for a prayer service in responce to racism. St. Peter Claver will host another prayer service calling for racial justice Sept. 6. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Archbishop Bernard Hebda will preside over an ecumenical prayer service for racial justice, peace and healing 7 p.m. Sept. 6 at St. Peter Claver in St. Paul.

The African-American parish held a similar event in 2016, and Father Erich Rutten, its parochial administrator, wants to continue to draw attention to the need to pray for peace in light of race-related violence.

“My thought is the issues is not going away. We should make this an annual thing,” said Father Rutten, who also serves as chairman of the Commission on Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The 2016 event was inspired by an exhortation from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that called for a national day of prayer to be observed Sept. 9, the feast of St. Peter Claver. This year’s prayer service will be held Sept. 6 because the parish plans to celebrate its patron’s feast with a picnic Sept. 9.

The 2016 event was led by Archbishop Hebda, Bishop Andrew Cozzens and the Rev. Charles Gill, pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church in St. Paul. The parish did not host the prayer service last year because of its 125th anniversary celebration.

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell is among the community leaders expected to attend. The St. Peter Claver Ensemble Choir will lead music.

“We’re praying through the intercession of St. Peter Claver for racial justice and peace,” Father Rutten said.

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