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IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF
PHILADELPHIA COUNTY, PA
ORPHANS’ COURT DIVISION
NO.
IN RE: ST. PETER CLAVER PARISH PROPERT...
Blessed Sacrament, after she visited Holy Ghost College (now Duquesne University) in
Pittsburgh, PA. McDermott’s congregat...
The racial descriptions do not restrict use of the property. Instead, they reflect a sordid
chapter in Catholic Church his...
Black Catholics does not come close to ensuring the sale of the St. Peter Claver Parish Property
will adhere to the donors...
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Objection to Archdiocese of Philadelphia Petition for Cy Pres - St. Peter Claver Catholic Church

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The Archdiocese of Philadelphia wants to remove language from the deeds for St. Peter Claver Church that would effectively rewrite history. St. Peter Claver is the "Mother Church" of black Catholics.

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Objection to Archdiocese of Philadelphia Petition for Cy Pres - St. Peter Claver Catholic Church

  1. 1. IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF PHILADELPHIA COUNTY, PA ORPHANS’ COURT DIVISION NO. IN RE: ST. PETER CLAVER PARISH PROPERTY – THE ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHIDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA OBJECTION TO PETITION FOR CY PRES PURSUANT TO 20 PA. CONST. STAT. §6110 Introduction The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has filed a Petition for Cy Pres related to the St. Peter Claver Parish Property, and for the removal of deed restrictions for real property located at 1212-1222 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the nature of a prohibition of sale and restriction of the use of the property using racial descriptions, and further to direct that a portion of the sale proceeds of such property be specifically designated for the use of the Office of Black Catholics, under the Secretariat for Evangelization of the Archdiocese, for purposes of evangelization. Factual Background Founded in 1886, Saint Peter Claver Union was the first black Roman Catholic congregation in Philadelphia. The church was named after a 16th century Spanish Jesuit priest who fought against the slave trade. Saint Pedro Claver was a missionary to enslaved Africans in South America. Before the establishment of Saint Peter Claver Union, blacks worshipped at predominantly white Catholic churches where they were subjected to discrimination and racial segregation. Black Catholics were forced to sit in the balcony or the back pews. “In July 29, 1889, Rev. Patrick McDermott, arrived in Philadelphia to take charge of the burgeoning black Catholic congregation at the request of Mother Katherine Drexel, founder of the Sisters of the
  2. 2. Blessed Sacrament, after she visited Holy Ghost College (now Duquesne University) in Pittsburgh, PA. McDermott’s congregation began assembling in a small chapel in the second story of a home at 832 Pine Street in 1889, but it soon became too crowded, and the group began to look for a large church home. When in 1890, the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia offered its building at 12th and Lombard for sale, the congregation began to pool its resources to purchase it. When Patrick Quinn, treasurer of the Beneficial Savings Fund Society, one of Philadelphia’s largest banks at the time, died the same year, his will stipulated that $5,000 of his fortune was to go to the “proposed Colored Catholic Church of Philadelphia.” With donations from other well-to-do Philadelphians and loan from a bank, the congregation managed to assemble the funds to purchase Fourth Presbyterian Church at 12th and Lombard, which was dedicated as St. Peter Claver’s Church, Philadelphia’s first black Catholic church, on January 3, 1892.”1 In stark contrast to white Catholic churches, St. Peter Claver Union was a welcoming place for all Catholics. The racial descriptions in the deed are affirmations that use of the property would not be restricted on account of race or color. “The deed for this property, signed in 1896 by Archbishop Patrick John Ryan and the Congregation of the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which administered the site, specified that the “premises are to be used as a Church for Colored People, parsonage, and school attached thereto. White people, however, being permitted to attend all religious services [and] to receive the sacraments of Penance and Eucharist in the said church.”2 1 St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, Fifty Golden Years. (Self-published History). (1942). 2 Rachel Moloshok. (2015, Fall). Memories of St. Peter Claver Church. Pennsylvania Legacies, 15(2), 3-5.
  3. 3. The racial descriptions do not restrict use of the property. Instead, they reflect a sordid chapter in Catholic Church history. The story behind the establishment of St. Peter Claver Union must not be forgotten – or erased. Objection to Petition for Cy Pres The “racial qualifications” contained in the real property deeds do not constitute a racially restrictive covenant. The racial descriptions do not restrict use of the property by persons of a designated race or color. On the face of the deed, it is clear that “White people” have an equal opportunity “to attend all religious services [and] to receive the sacraments of Penance and Eucharist in the said church.” The deed language expressly prohibits discrimination on grounds of race or color. The removal of the racial descriptions would effectively rewrite history. On October 9, 2014, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced the closure of the St. Peter Claver Center for Evangelization, which housed the Office of Black Catholics. The press release notes that “the Center has been able to financially support its programs via a grant from the Black and Indian Missions.” It further notes that “the Secretariat for Evangelization, which oversees the Office for Black Catholics, is not able to provide an ongoing subsidy for maintenance issues without jeopardizing the stability of vital ministerial outreach programs to the many communities entrusted to its pastoral care. Furthermore, the Archdiocese, which is still in the process of restoring its fiscal foundation, is not able to guarantee funds for the physical care of the Center.”3 In laymen’s terms, the Archdiocese wants to “rob Peter to pay Paul.” The shaky fiscal foundation of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia does not change the circumstances of black Catholics. The promise that one-third of the sale proceeds shall be designated for the Office of 3 Archdiocese of Philadelphia. (2014, October 9). Archdiocese of Philadelphia Announces Closure of Saint Peter Claver Center for Evangelization [Press release]. Retrieved from http://archphila.org/press releases/pr002451.php
  4. 4. Black Catholics does not come close to ensuring the sale of the St. Peter Claver Parish Property will adhere to the donors’ specific charitable intent to provide evangelization to black Catholics. Accordingly, I respectfully object to the Petition for Cy Pres. Date: June 6, 2016 By: __________________________ Faye M. Anderson, Pro Se Interested Party 1755 N. 13th Street, No. 160 Philadelphia, PA 19122 (267) 282-1342 fmanderson@trackingchange.info

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia wants to remove language from the deeds for St. Peter Claver Church that would effectively rewrite history. St. Peter Claver is the "Mother Church" of black Catholics.

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