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Bishop Burbidge celebrates Mass for peace on the feast of St. Peter Claver

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Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated a Mass for Peace in our Communities at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington Sept. 9. Celebrated on the feast day of St. Peter Claver, patron of African Americans and interracial justice, the Mass was part of a day of fasting and prayer to combat racism.

 

The Spanish-born saint entered the Society of Jesus in 1601, and was the first Jesuit ordained in Cartagena, Colombia, a port of entry for West African slaves. He ministered to and baptized as many as 300,000 slaves and was canonized in 1888.

 

Bishop Burbidge said in his homily, “We are called to be instruments of the Lord’s peace and we are when we speak to others not with mere words but ‘with our hands and actions,’ ” in reference to St. Peter Claver’s acts of kindness bringing food and clothes and giving comfort to slaves.

 

“To experience the peace which all of us truly desire, we must acknowledge the source of peace, Our Lord Jesus. Only in him will our world, nation, communities and each one of us know peace. For he is the one who turned hatred to love and suffering to glory,” Bishop Burbidge said.

 

“The Mass was beautiful and St. Peter Claver is such a great saint,” said Cathedral of St. Thomas More parishioner Martha Long. Long was one of more than 50 people who attended the afternoon Mass, which also included parishioners reciting the rosary before Mass.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020