Saint Mary’s Mission and Ministry Center Holds Prayer Observations to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Saint Mary’s community spoke on Martin Luther King’s legacy as an activist and his connection to Christianity.
By Riley Mulcahy
In remembrance of Dr Martin Luther King Jr., members of the Saint Mary’s community came together to recognize Dr King’s life through prayer on Tuesday, January 19th. Brother David Caretti led the celebration, highlighting Dr King’s faith and how his activism grew out of Dr King’s love of Jesus. The event, which consisted of three time slots during the day, began with sections of Dr King’s best-known speeches, each section running approximately twenty minutes in length. The space offered those in attendance to grapple with the intensity of Dr King’s words, through prayer, silence and sharing out of reactions to the speeches and words shared in the session.
Tuesday’s overarching theme was to assert Dr King’s faith as essential to his work as an organizer and activist. Each of the sections had a quote from Dr King to tie the conversation together. After hearing Dr King’s words, attendees read a prayer from Dr King, “Eternal God out of whose mind this great cosmic universe we bless thee. Help us to seek that which is high, noble and Good. Help us in the moment of a difficult decision. Help us to work with renewed vigor for a warless world, a better distribution of wealth, and a brotherhood that transcends race or color.”
Dr Kathy Littles, Saint Mary’s Senior Diversity Officer, read a prayer which said, impart, that Dr King’s activism was not “limited” because of his Christian beliefs; instead, his activism was rooted in Christianity.
The first quote came from Dr King’s 1967 Christmas sermon, “If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”
Attendees pondered the quote, with one speaker relating Dr King’s to Black Lives Matter’s perceived misunderstanding, how Black Lives Matter’s message can be accused of wanting power and supremacy instead of equality, which has been a misconception that African Americans have struggled with for generations.
In the second session, attendees were met with another quote from Dr King from his famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." Given the political tension in our times, Dr King’s words are as poignant as ever. Attendees talked about the deep connotations of “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”, especially with the recent events of the Washington DC riots and continued election misinformation.
Taken from a speech at an anti-war conference in Los Angeles in 1967, last session’s quote revolved around Dr King’s opposition to the Vietnam War and war in general. “It is not enough to say 'We must not wage war.' It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but the positive affirmation of peace." Dr King’s stance against Vietnam was controversial at the time of his death, which was not surprising for such a controversial historical figure. Dr Littles shared a quote from Bernice King, the daughter of Dr King, “Don’t act like everyone loved my father. He was assassinated. A 1967 poll reflected that he was one of the most hated men in America. Most hated. Many who quote him now and evoke him to deter justice today would likely hate, and may already hate, the authentic King.”
Melanie Moyer '22,