Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorations

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province

The Province will hold its annual commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. next month in Maryland with Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, celebrating a 5 p.m. Mass on Jan. 15 at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring.

Details are being organized by members of the Province’s African Ancestry Committee, under the direction of David Hyman, OFM. In recent years, HNP commemorations have been held in Rhode Island, Georgia, New York and South Carolina.

Around the Province, other events are planned to remember the civil rights leader who was killed in 1968.

The 10th annual Martin Luther King Interfaith Peace Walk will take place at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16 in New York City. It begins and ends at Holy Name of Jesus Church on West 96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.

The Martin Luther King Day Interfaith Peace Walk began in 2003 as a community response to the impending Iraq War, said Michael Tyson, OFM, one of the event organizers. Michael added that the theme of this year’s walk is “Occupy; Faithful; Dialogue.” 

Event organizer Tony Lopresti of Holy Name said that 10 years ago, “organizers expected 50 people, hoped for about 200, and more than 1,000 showed up. Numbers have averaged between 250 and 500 ever since. The last two years have had the largest contingencies of young people join the walk.”

“As we walk and pray in 2012 for economic justice, let us also remember those who have suffered because of the Iraq War. Let us give thanks that, by the time we gather, our military involvement will have come to an end.” Lopresti encourages participants to “bring signs and friends.”

Participants in the walk will stop at four churches to pray.

In southern New Jersey, St. Anthony of Padua Parish will host the country’s only Martin Luther King Day of Community Organizing. The event, run in partnership with Camden Churches Organized for People, “will have students demonstrating to their peers the importance of meeting the needs of a neighborhood through community organizing rather than a one-day service project,” according to Jud Weiksnar, OFM, pastor of St. Anthony Church.