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St. Peter Claver Church of Montclair Charity Profile
Just above the rose window at the entrance to our church, you can see a granite-sculpted hand. It is raised in blessing, as if to say, "the Hand of God is on this work." Come in! You are welcome to join us in worship and to share the warmth and spirit of our parish family. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, we strive to reflect the life and gospel of Jesus Christ through our various ministries of faith, in service to one another and in outreach to our local communities. In human solidarity and common effort, we seek to address the needs of our troubled world. As a parish family, we come together to worship God, centered in the Eucharist. We celebrate diversity, and we are united in community and shared gospel values. We support one another in love, prayer, and deeds. Our church offers a wide variety of programs and services to meet the needs and interests of all our parishioners. The strong leadership of our elected Parish Council provides guidance and direction. Our Liturgy Committee works with our music ministry and altar servers to enhance our worship services. Our Parish life Committee encompasses Black Catholic Concerns, Men's and Women's Fellowships, our Haitian and Latino communities social events, and other activities that foster community involvement. Our Social Concerns Committee serves those in need within our parish and beyond, with a Food Pantry, clothing and blood drives, Interfaith Hospitality Network, CropWalk, an AIDS ministry, and more. Our church is an official Peace Site, and is responsive to social issues. Spiritual Life, Communications, Buildings & Grounds, and Finance Committees also enjoy high levels of involvement and make significant contributions to our church.
The children, a top priority at St. Peter Claver, are encouraged to be active members of our parish family. Our Religious Education program involves the children, their families, and all parishioners in a cooperative community of faith. In addition to weekly classes, we offer Sacramental preparations, scripture study, special liturgies, after-school and summer technology programs, a youth group, "Let The Children Come To Me," family activities, and many opportunities for involvement in the life of our parish.
St. Peter Claver parish is a vibrant, inclusive, generous, Spirit-filled community of faith.. All are welcome! On January 14, 1931, a family of eight African-Americans met in the basement of Immaculate Conception Church in Montclair to begin weekly instruction in the Catholic faith. With the help and guidance of Rev. Cornelius Ahern, that smal1 group of converts grew, and the St. Peter Claver Mission was established. The Mission Center was a house, 51 Elm Street, in Montclair.
During the next several years, the fledg1ing community continued to expand as it prayed and worked for a miracle: to build a church. That dream was realized on November 5, 1939, when the cornerstone was laid for St. Peter Claver Church. The formal dedication ceremony, presided over by Archbishop Thomas Walsh and Father Ahern, was attended by over 300 parishioners.
On December 1, 1973, after 43 years as a Mission, St. Peter Claver Church was officially designated as a self-sustaining parish, with Rev. Charles McTague as the first pastor.
Over the years, St. Peter Claver Church has grown in membership and diversity, reaching out to welcome a11. During the 1970s, Koreans from some twenty Communities attended weekly Mass and a social hour. Since 1972, St. Peter Claver has been the parish home for a Haitian community, which celebrates weekly Mass in Creole and participates in a11 aspects of our parish life.
St. Peter Claver is also home to a Latino Ministry, since March 2002, offering weekly Mass in Spanish. This active and growing community has also become an integral part of the St. Peter Claver family. Our parish has evolved into a unique blend of diverse cultures united by our Catholic faith and Christian love.
On May 5,1987, a Priest's Residence/Office/Parish Center was dedicated as a symbol of the present generation's determination to preserve our traditions and pass on the gift of our faith. Surely, "the Hand of God is on this work."