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St. Peter Claver RC Church

About this listing

The first African American Catholic Church in the Brooklyn diocese

Place Details

Borough : Brooklyn
Neighborhood : Bedford- Stuyvesant
Institution, Highlights in Central Brooklyn, African/ American, Place of Worship

Place Matters Profile

When it was founded in 1921, the St. Peter Claver Roman Catholic Church was the first African American Roman Catholic Church in the diocese of Brooklyn. It has a long tradition of religious and community service and has also founded a number of other significant institutions in its local neighborhood and around the city.

St. Peter Claver was begun through the impetus of the Colored Catholic Club and Reverend Bernard Quinn. Wanting a parish welcoming to an African American population, they began holding services in 1921 in Our Lady of Mercy Church on Schermerhorn Street (building is no longer there). A year later they found a permanent home in a 60 year-old red brick church on Ormond Place (now Claver Place) that had formerly housed Congregational, Episcopalian, and Baptist congregations. Although it has been renovated and remodeled over the years, most recently in 1993, the church remains in this original Bedford-Stuyvesant home.

After its opening, the parish rapidly grew in size and

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Sources

Brickus, Eleanor. Interviewed by Elena Martinez for Place Matters. September 15, 1999.

Dabney, Lorraine. Interviewed by Elena Martinez for Place Matters. September 15, 1999.

Harris, Della. Interviewed by Elena Martinez for Place Matters. September 15, 1999.

Marquez, Lorna. Interviewed by Elena Martinez for Place Matters. September 15, 1999.

St. Peter Claver R.C. Church. "Celebrating our Restoration." Brochure, 1991.

Watson, Clarissa. Interviewed by Elena Martinez for Place Matters. September 15, 1999.

West, Rev. Patrick J. Interviewed by Elena Martinez for Place Matters. September 15, 1999.

West, Rev. Patrick J. "An Historical Sketch of Saint Peter Claver Church." Brochure.

Nominations

Anonymous Nominator

In 1915 the Colored Catholic Club was created to establish a church for African Americans within the Brooklyn Diocese. St. Peter Claver was founded in 1922 and organized several missions in Brooklyn out of its Bed-Stuy home.



Dolores Lindsay

A religious institution that's been there since I was little. It had a program for single mothers, and it used to have concerts downstairs and shows for children.



Jennifer Parkinson-Gilbert

St. Peter Claver Church is a bevy of activity. Various anonymous groups hold meetings there on a weekly basis. We host an annual Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless and less fortunate, and every year the youth of the parish put on their rendition of the "Passion of Christ" on Good Friday.

It is a parish rich in tradition. It was started for Black Catholics, but is known for welcoming all races and nationalities to the Claver family. When you walk in the door you feel a sense of "coming home."

St. Peter Claver has been merged with Our Lady of Victory and Queen of the Holy Rosary to form a new parish called St. Martin dePorres.

(December 2007)


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