Yesterday, as Americans celebrated what would have been the 77th birthday of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Arlington, Virginia’s Bishop Paul S. Loverde called on faithful to "stand in solidarity with our African American brothers and sisters to honor a great man, a prophet."
Bishop Loverde was on hand to celebrate Mass at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in nearby Alexandria. The Church’s 240 seats were packed with a standing room only crowd of both African American and white worshipers.
"Like Samuel,” the Bishop said in his homily, “Dr. King heard the Lord's voice, which called him to cry out against injustice, violence and racism…He pointed toward a future where all people would live together as brothers and sisters, regardless of race, color or creed."
Bishop Loverde also stressed the need for more black priests to serve in the 400,000 member diocese. Currently, there are only two African American priests, and one is in retirement.
St. Joseph’s parish was established in 1915--partially through the help of Philadelphia’s St. Katherine Drexel--to minister to the city’s African American population. Today, it is home to around 500 parishioners.