We celebrate today the life and work of Pedro Claver Calberó, known in English as St. Peter Claver. This Jesuit priest known for is work among the slaves of Cartagena, Colombia was born in Barcelona Spain.
As early as 1537, Pope Paul III had condemned slavery, but it had continued none the less and the port of Cartagena was a center of it.
The conditions under which slaves were transported from Africa were so horrendous that as many as a third might die in transit. One can only imagine the conditions at the port when they arrived.
Today this saint intercedes for us from his place in heaven, and serves as a link between the two great minority communities in the US, the African-American and the Spanish-speaking.
We are also reminded that the scourge of human trafficking still thrives in our world. As Christians, let us pray on this Memorial of Peter Claver that the church not rest until this grave sin against human life is ended.
- Fr. Wayne