January 20, 2014


Each year on Martin Luther King Day, our school community gathers for prayer.  We have had Mass the past two years but this year we had a Prayer Service.  We kicked off the assembly with our chaplain, Father Richard Dion, discussing Archbishop Gerald Lacroix '75 becoming a cardinal and what that means to us.  We then showed a brief video that Mrs. Henning, our communications director, made of Archbishop Lacroix talking about his time at Trinity.  He encouraged the students to be involved in the school and make the most of the four years as it goes by so fast.

Following this, we moved into our Prayer Service.  The choir sang the National Anthem, we prayed Psalm 34, and we listened to a reading from the prophet Micah.  I offered a brief reflection (see below) and we listened to the final two minutes of the speech Dr. King delivered the night before he was shot (click here to view it).

After this, I called up all the students who are going with us on the March for Life this week and presented them with their t-shirts, hats, and scarfs.  Father Richard then did a sending forth blessing over them.  To conclude, Ms. Foley of our theology department and Victoria Fatukasi '16 beautifully sang the great Civil Rights era song "We Shall Overcome."

And now, off to DC tomorrow!

Here is my reflection:

I spent the 2001-2002 academic year at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN while considering becoming a priest.  Every Monday, the other guys in my group would get together for various talks on religious life.  One Monday we went over to the library where we met with Fr. Ted Hesburgh, the former president of Notre Dame.  In addition to being president, Fr. Hesburgh served on various committees and boards for every president from Dwight Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan and for every pope from Pius XII to John Paul II.  He met everyone there was to meet and he has many photos to prove it.  However, the most prominent photo in his office is one of him holding hands with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while signing “We Shall Overcome” on June 21, 1964 in Chicago.  

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not Catholic - he was a Baptist - but many Catholics, like Fr. Hesburgh, flocked to Dr. King and joined the Civil Rights movement.  Dr. King preached the ancient Christian truth found in the book of Genesis that all men and women are created in the image and likeness of God and, as the Declaration of Independence says, “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights...life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  It’s a very simple truth and Fr. Hesburgh and thousands, if not millions of others, were inspired to join Dr. King.  In fact, we are all still inspired by a man who did so much to advance the cause of freedom for so many.  That is why we pause to remember him today and to pray for peace and justice and for the building of the Kingdom of God here on Earth.

In the spring of 1968, Dr. King visited Memphis, TN to provide support to a strike of sanitation workers.  On April 3 he delivered what would be his last speech at a church as he was assassinated the next day while standing on his hotel room balcony.  When he gave the speech, of course, he had no idea that he was going to be shot the next day but his words were that of a prophet and a man who, like Moses, believed in his ministry and mission from God.  Let us listen.  

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