Cardinal Wuerl Celebrates the Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 19, 2013

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington was the principal celebrant and homilist for the Archdiocese of Washington’s annual Mass celebrating the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year’s Mass was held at Jesus the Good Shepherd in Owings with the theme, “The Church: The Conscience of the State.”

“From the very beginning, human beings individually and collectively have a track record of placing ourselves at the center too often oblivious to the needs and even the rights of others. It began with Cain and Abel and has continued on to events as recent as the senseless shootings and killings in multiple parts of our country,” said Cardinal Wuerl in his homily. “And yet, in all of the confusion, self-centered lifestyle, violence, lack of compassion and even hatred, the voice of religion – the voice of faith – the voice of the Church – has been a constant beacon in the darkness, a light for those seeking the right path and a support to those who have nowhere else to turn…The voice of the Church is the voice reminding us of all the things we ought to do.”

Cardinal Wuerl continued, “Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a voice crying out in the wilderness. His was a voice however that was rooted in faith – faith in God – faith in Christ. His was a voice that resounded with the cadences of prophetic proclamation and the images of Sacred Scripture…[he] stood up in venue after venue to say, ‘We are all equal, we all have the same rights because we are all children of the same God.’ In a culture where racism was rampant and devaluing others the order of the day, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quietly, forcefully, without violence and always faithful to the Gospel, simply reminded this society, this culture, this nation, we are all brothers and sisters because we are all children of the same God.”

In a democracy, every citizen must accept some responsibility for the direction of the country, the Cardinal reminded the faithful. “We need to bring our moral values and vision to the marketplace. Otherwise public policy would soon have no moral coherence – and no moral authority…Dr. Martin Luther King clearly understood that fact and reminded us when he spoke of racial prejudice and racist laws that an unjust law was no law.”

Cardinal Wuerl called on the faithful to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s prophetic witness for the countercultural crusade he led and to continue the vision, realize the dream and live as we ought to as the conscience of our culture today.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 600,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 97 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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