The Mobile Archdiocese is welcoming home a Catholic organization that was founded in the port city nearly a century ago.
The Knights of Peter Claver held the opening mass for their national convention in Mobile Sunday.
More than a thousand members of the Knights of Peter Claver gathered for mass at the Mobile Convention Center to kick off the organizations 99th National convention.
The fraternal order got its start in Mobile in 1909 when blacks were barred from the Knights of Columbus.
“In the south, because of segregation and racism the Knights could not readily join the Knights of Columbus at the turn of the century,” Dekarlos Blackmon said.
Supreme Knight and Mobile native DeKarlos Blackmon said the group and the church have come a long way.
“It’s very, very important for us to take into consideration that no one is has all of the answers, but we’re all on our journey. We make mistakes, and that was one of the things that the Archbishop stated, we make mistakes, but we have come about to bring everyone forward, to help the whole church understand who we are,” Blackmon said.
The order is named after 17 century Jesuit, Peter Claver who was the patron saint of slaves. Today, the order has 20 thousand members, and is head-quartered in New Orleans.
The convention brings Knights and ladies from all over the country to Mobile.
“This is the very first time. It started off here, this is in deed the birth place where it all started. It’s an honor it is indeed an honor. I mean it’s beautiful the city is beautiful,” Mable Julian-Taylor said.
One of the most prominent members of the Knights of Peter Claver is Archbishop Thomas Rodi himself.
“All of God’s children are part of the church, and all of God’s children have the dignity being sons and daughters of God, and the Knights of Peter Claver have been exemplary in really calling the church to know that and to live it,” Archbishop Rodi said.
The Knights will hold a Gala Monday night. Their convention will wrap up on Wednesday.