Diocesan News

Courage to Continue King’s Legacy

Prayer Service Marks 50th Anniversary of Slain Civil Rights Leader’s Death

 Stephen Gregory Augustine McMullen gave a speech that invoked both the strength and courage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the love and faith of Jesus. He asked the crowd to join hands and pray. After the prayer he asked everyone to hug their neighbor and tell them that they loved one another.

The diocesan Vicariate of Black Catholic Concerns hosted its annual praise and prayer service celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Our Lady of Victory Church, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Jan. 15.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination.

Father Alonzo Cox, coordinator for the Vicariate of Black Catholic Concerns, led the commemoration along with Stephen Gregory Augustine McMullen as guest speaker.

The service was a celebration of the life and work of the civil rights leader. Famous quotes and stories of his were read alongside beautiful music and dance. Attendees hugged and embraced to spread their love and faith.

‘God Will Deliver’

McMullen gave a speech full of enthusiasm, excitement and love.

“Look back at slavery and where we came from. God told us it would be all right, we would see better days. We always have to keep pushing and keep our faith and God will deliver on His promises,” he said.

“The strength of faith is what gave Martin Luther King Jr. his courage. They go low, we go high. Show love, not hate. This is how we must live.”

The first people can be traced back to Africa, McMullen pointed out, “so I say, ‘If Africa was good enough for God to start His people, then it is good enough for me.’

“Today’s political climate makes me wonder what MLK would think and say today. He is the one who showed us and taught us that when people are uncomfortable, their faith gives them the strength to continue. We have come this far. We must continue,” he said.

“Martin Luther King Jr. would be concerned with how things are today in this country but he would have his faith. He would have been so proud to see a black man as president and he would have hope that we will see one again.”

Father Cox added, “We thank Martin Luther King Jr. for his strength, faith, and of course his sacrifice. Jesus gave Him strength to stand up for what is right, to walk tall, and to spread his love.

“We thank all the people who fought for us to be here today and also we thank the people here today who continue to fight for a better day. I am blessed to have these people here to make such a great community.

“I am thankful of all the pillars who stood tall to stand up for our community and our people. I am so proud of the people who continue to stand tall today.”

Teaching the Next Generation

Mike Neal and his two young sons prayed together.

“I am very proud to have my sons here with me today,” Neal said. My oldest son is now just at the age where he is starting to understand and even asking questions. For him to be here and see so much love I think will teach him what King stood for and how he should live in his own life.”