American named deputy head of global Catholic knights group

New Orleans, La., May 22, 2013 / 02:03 am (CNA).- The International Alliance of Catholic Knights has named as its deputy president F. DeKarlos Blackmon, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Peter Claver.

Blackmon, 36, said he will use his new role to deepen the faith of alliance members and all Catholics while encouraging “active and generous participation in the life and mission of the Church,” the New Orleans-based Knights of Peter Claver reported May 16.

Gene A. Phillips, Sr., past Supreme Knight of the Knights of Peter Claver, said the organization is “extremely proud to have the United States represented in the leadership of this vital organization.”

The International Alliance of Catholic Knights has 15 member orders with a combined presence in 27 countries. It was founded in Glasgow, Scotland in October 1979 to advance mutual cooperation between member orders and to help expand Catholic knighthood, the alliance’s website says. It is a Vatican-recognized association of the Catholic faithful.

The coalition aims to help evangelize the world for Jesus Christ and to support the Pope and all bishops, priest and religious. It intends to fulfill the vision of Father Michael J. McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus.

The Knights of Peter Claver and the Knights of Columbus represent the United States in the alliance.

Blackmon is a pastoral associate and director of liturgy and music at St. Joseph Parish in Huntsville, Ala. He is a Benedictine oblate and a former U.S. Army chaplain.

His election drew congratulations from Auxiliary Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of New Orleans and Auxiliary Bishop Martin D. Holley of the Archdiocese of Washington, chaplain of the Knights of Peter Claver.

He has headed the only historically black Catholic fraternal organization in the U.S. since 2010. The Knights of Peter Claver take as their model the seventeenth-century Jesuit priest who ministered to Colombian slaves. They are present in about 39 U.S. states and South America.

Blackmon will serve under the International Alliance of Catholic Knights’ new president, Brother David Huppatz, a past Supreme Knight of Australia’s Knights of the Southern Cross.

Both were elected to a two-year term. Their installation will take place at the end of the alliance’s September 2013 international council meeting in The Gambia, home of alliance member the Fraternal Order of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Other member orders include the Knights of St. Columba in the U.K. and the Knights of St. Columbanus in Ireland. The alliance’s website is www.iack.org.

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