Remembering Martin Luther King

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province


NEW YORK — Holy Name Parish on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is involved with two commemorations of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday this year.

The Province’s annual celebration of the slain civil rights leader will be held at the church on 96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue on Jan. 17, and on the holiday itself, community members will participate in a traditional interfaith walk to emphasize peace.

All are welcome to the noon Mass on Sunday at which Provincial Vicar Lawrence Hayes, OFM, will be the presider and homilist. Lawrence Ford, OFM, pastor of the parish which last fall commemorated its 20th anniversary as a Franciscan community, will host a reception after the Mass.

David Hyman, OFM, who chairs the HNP African Ancestry Committee that organizes the Province’s Martin Luther King celebrations, said, “it is our hope that all our Provincial ministries, this weekend, in some way acknowledge and celebrate the ‘dream’ of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King. Given the concerns in the nation about recent events such as the tragedies in Charleston, S.C., and Ferguson, Mo., it is important to talk about Dr. King’s ideas. Mentioning these two cities will signal a broad spectrum of issues, reminding us there is more than enough to address.”

In past years, various churches have hosted the Provincial celebration. They include St. Anthony of Padua Church in Greenville, S.C., St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, St. Camillus in Silver Spring, Md., and the chapel at the University of Georgia in Athens.

On the holiday — Jan. 18, an annual MLK Interfaith Peace Walk will take place in the Holy Name Parish neighborhood. The event, which usually attracts hundreds of participants, will begin at 2 p.m. at Holy Name Church. The theme of this 14th annual walk is “hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

Participants and host congregations are encouraged to collect and bring letters addressed to congressional leaders urging support of initiatives to protect the planet and the poor who are so devastatingly affected by climate change and income inequality, said Tony Lopresti, a Holy Name parishioner and an organizer of the walk. “Letters will be carried from congregation to congregation and then delivered in bulk.”

Participants will visit several churches and the march will end at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament on West 71st Street for refreshments and fellowship.

Other ministries around the Province are also hosting special events for the holiday. Among them is St. Bonaventure University in Western New York, which is showing the 2014 movie “Selma” on Jan. 18, offering a presentation on Jan. 20 titled “MLK: The Reluctant Leader” and hosting an event on Jan. 25 called “MLK Celebration of Life” that will offer music, dance and personal reflections about the impact of King’s legacy. Information is available on SBU’s website and on the sites of many of the Province’s ministries.

Commemorations will continue into February, which across the country is known as Black History Month.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.

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