15 Mar 2005
The Knights of Peter Claver, Inc. and the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary, the nation's largest historically African-American Catholic lay organization, recently named Athanase J. Jones, Jr., 42, its new Executive Director. Jones becomes the order's fifth director and the first one appointed in 32 years. He succeeds W. Charles Keyes, Jr. who died in September 2004. As Executive Director, Jones will oversee day-to-day operations of the order's more than 1,000 units operating in 32 states and the District of Columbia. The Knights of Peter Claver has a membership comprising men, women, boys and girls ages 7 to 18 years and Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and priests.
Jones has served the Order as Grand Knight of Monsignor Walter J. Darcy Council No. 335 in Jacksonville, Florida and is a member of the Pierre Toussaint Fourth Degree Assembly No. 45. He is a former Navy Commander and brings over 20 years of business management experience and an extensive background of community support to the job. He is a highly decorated Gulf War veteran who most recently served as Director of Logistics for the Navy' s Southeast Region responsible for logistics programs and policies on 26 ships in the southeastern U.S. Upon leaving the Navy in November, he was recognized by former President Bill Clinton and National Urban League President Marc Morial for his leadership in the Navy's diversity awareness programs. Jones, a New Orleans native, holds a Bachelors Degree from Norfolk (Virginia) State University and a Masters from Troy (Alabama) State University. He is married to the former Michelle Morle and has two sons, Christopher and Matthew.
The Knights of Peter Claver, Inc. was founded on Nov. 7, 1909 in Mobile, AL for Black men who had no Catholic organization to belong to at the time. The organization is named for St. Peter Claver, a Jesuit priest from Spain who ministered to the poor, especially the many slaves who were being shipped from Africa in the 1600s. Peter Claver is said to have Christianized over 300,000 thousand slaves. Judge Arthur C. McFarland of Charleston, South Carolina is the Supreme Knight and Mary L. Briers of Montgomery, Alabama is the Supreme Lady.
The Order supports Catholic parish as well as national and international charitable projects. For example, Knights and Ladies contributed $100,000 to the Mother of Africa Chapel in the National Basilica in Washington, D.C. and recently made a $100,000 installment on a $300,000 commitment to Xavier University in New Orleans, the only African-American Catholic university in the country. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently renewed a grant to the organization to continue its Environmental Health and Justice Literacy Project, which educates citizens of poor communities about environmental health hazards. It has made noteworthy contributions to various local, state and national organizations such as The NAACP, National Council of Negro Women, National Council of Catholic Women, Urban League, and the College Fund (UNCF), to name a few. The Knights of Peter Claver is a member of the International Alliance of Catholic Knights.
Ms. Debra Frazier
Ms. Debra Frazier
Knights of Peter Claver, Inc.
1825 Orleans Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70116