Published September 20, 2007
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory recently visited St. Peter Claver Regional School to celebrate Mass in honor of the school’s patron saint.
Grandparents of St. Peter Claver students were the special guests at the Sept. 12 Mass and reception with the archbishop. Some 50 grandparents stayed to attend classes with their students and also joined them for lunch in the school cafeteria.
In his homily, Archbishop Gregory spoke of the life and ministry of St. Peter Claver, a Jesuit priest from Spain who ministered physically and spiritually to slaves arriving in Cartegena, Colombia, in the slave ships of the 1600s. Peter Claver said of the slaves, “We must speak to them with our hands by giving, before we try to speak to them with our lips.” St. Peter Claver’s feast day is Sept. 9.
Archbishop Gregory also reminded all in attendance of the important roles grandparents play in the lives of children. In many communities, he said, it is the elders who understand best the importance of transmitting the faith and religious values of a culture. Grandparents in a Catholic school community are certainly great examples of that tradition, the archbishop told them.
To prepare for the day, students at St. Peter Claver worked on various activities based on the saint or their grandparents in their classes. In art classes each grade created unique pieces of a giant display on the life of St. Peter Claver. Each class worked on a piece of the display—from jungle birds, butterflies and dragonflies to flowers to a collage of the saint himself in stained-glass style. And as part of their assignment in religion, middle school students interviewed their grandparents and wrote their stories.
At the close of Mass, Christian Griffith, son of Drs. Chris and Jeana Griffith, read his story to the assembly, and then he and Stanley Robinson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Robinson Sr., presented copies of their stories to Archbishop Gregory for him to read “at his leisure.”
Grandparents were each presented with St. Peter Claver medals designed especially for the school.
St. Peter Claver School is located at 2560 Tilson Road in Decatur. For more information about the school, visit the St. Peter Claver Web site at www.spc-school.org or contact the school office at (404) 241-3063.