Knights of Peter Claver prepare youth for leadership

Knights of Peter Claver Deputies Barbara Birds of Charleston and James Curtis of Columbia process out of Mass at the Gulf Coast District conference in Greenville May 4. (Photo provided)

GREENVILLE—Over 300 members of the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary — representing members of the Gulf Coast District, national officers, and guests — gathered recently to discuss, share, plan and celebrate acts of “Claverism”.

The event, held May 4 at the Embassy Suites Golf Resort and Conference Center, brought together councils and courts from Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Colombia, South America.  

One topic of conversation, initiated by Micaela LeBlanc, National Board of Directors’ Supreme Lady, focused on ways to make the Knights of Peter Claver the volunteer organization choice for every Catholic.  

Other conference activities included a banquet, in which district members who demonstrated outstanding work of Claverism were recognized.

Father Vernon Huguley, chaplain for the district, announced that he would be stepping down from his position in 2020 after 13 years of service. He stressed the importance of making room for new leadership, which is vital to the success of an organization.  

Emerging Leaders, the organization’s young adult leadership development program, was also highlighted. Studies are currently underway to find ways to attract and retain young adults in the Church.  

“Our emerging leaders are not our future, they are our present and they are ready to step up to leadership roles now,” said Athanese Jones, Knights of Peter Claver national secretary.

The Knights of Peter Claver, Inc., is the largest historically African-American Catholic lay organization in the United States. The Order is named for St. Peter Claver, the Spanish priest who ministered to African slaves. 

The purpose of the organization is to render service to God and His Holy Church, give aid and assistance to the sick and disabled, and promote social and intellectual association among members  (

By Kathleen Merritt/Special to The Miscellany