Martin Luther King Jr. honored by Catholic Charities, archdioceses

Catholic Charities of the Washington D.C. Archdiocese will join with Catholic Charities USA in honoring Martin Luther King Jr. by sponsoring the first national “Keep the Dream Alive Mass and Award.” The event will be held on Monday, Jan. 18 at St. Aloysius Church in Washington D.C. and will recognize four national figures who have worked to preserve King's legacy, particularly the reduction of poverty.

“As we celebrate our Centennial Year by renewing our commitment to reduce poverty in America, we join the nation in honoring the Rev. Dr. King as a great champion of the struggle to reduce poverty,” said Fr. Larry Snyder, the President of Catholic Charities USA. “We will present this award annually to national figures who inspire the nation to keep the dream alive by their life work of reducing poverty in America.”

Fr. Snyder will present the award to Allison Boisvert, Social Justice Minister for the Pax Christi Catholic Community in Minnesota; Dr. Arturo Chavez, Ph. D, President and CEO of the Mexican American College and Cultural Center in Texas; Ralph McCloud, Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C. and Rev. Raymond Kemp, STL, a Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Auxiliary Bishop Martin D. Holley will preside over the Jan. 18 Mass at St. Aloysius parish.

The Rev. Dr. Clarence Williams, Catholic Charities senior director of racial equality and diversity initiatives said last Friday that “As we open our Centennial Year, we are bestowing on these four national leaders this coveted lifetime recognition for those who have advocated for and given service to the poor.”

The Archdiocese of Washington also honored the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. at its annual Mass last Friday, Jan. 15.

Before the Mass, attendees enjoyed a program of musical selections from the St. Cecelia African Gospel Choir, dance presentations and dramatic readings from Dr. King's speeches.

In the Archdiocese of Atlanta, a weekend celebration honoring the late Dr. King was held under the theme “In Charity and Truth We Have Unity.” Activities began with a young adult celebration on Friday night at the Catholic Atlanta University Center. Mass was held on Saturday the 16th at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta with Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory presiding, and on Sunday a youth celebration took place at St. Peter Claver Regional Catholic School.

On Saturday, Archbishop Gregory stated that “It is providential, that four decades after his untimely death, the influence of Dr. King is in no way diminished, but has increased with the passing years. The reasons for history’s generous elevation of Dr. King are many, but these two stand out: first, he remains an icon for all who believe in the power of non-violent protest and civil disobedience in the cause of justice; and second, his noble character continues to resound effectively in the hearts of millions, his words and actions as moving today, when summoned by memory, as they were when heard and seen the first time.”

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