By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
On Jan. 20, the day set aside to honor the life and legacy of civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., celebrations were held across the city and nation, including at the Cathedral of the Assumption, where the Archdiocese of Louisville observed its traditional celebration of the life of the Rev. Dr. King.
This year marked the archdiocese’s 29th annual Community-wide Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. The theme of the event was “Walking a Journey of Justice,” and the celebration of the life of the civil rights leader was again hosted by the Archdiocese Office of Multicultural Ministry.
In her Call to Worship, Deborah Wade said the service was a chance for everyone gathered “to continue the work of yesterday into the dawn of tomorrow.”
“We come to celebrate that we are still working to overcome the injustices, economic deprivation and racial prejudices found in our society today,” Wade said. “We come to commit ourselves to continue singing the praises of God.”
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz delivered the service’s homily and in it he recalled Dr. King’s famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
In the letter, Archbishop Kurtz noted, Dr. King said it was time to lift ourselves from “the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.”
Quicksand not only has you stuck in your place, he said, but also sinking. It’s not staying the same; the situation is getting worse.
Archbishop Kurtz said everyone benefits when someone is able to pull themselves out of quicksand and onto solid rock.
“That’s why this celebration is for all Americans,” he said.
The nonviolent teachings of Dr. King are still relevant today, Archbishop Kurtz noted.
“We’re not just talking about our nation,” he said, “we are talking about our homes and our hearts. We’re not just talking about our homes and our hearts but we are talking about our neighborhoods and our states. We are talking about our world and our church.”
For many people, nonviolence is perceived as weakness, Archbishop Kurtz noted.
“Nonviolence is not weakness. Nonviolence says do not strike back but hold your ground,” he explained. “To be nonviolent, you need to be a person of courage.
“That’s a lesson that we need to make part of our own hearts and part of our lives — that the legacy of Dr. King will live on and deepen each year,” he said.
Archbishop Kurtz concluded his homily by recalling the closing lines of Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered Aug. 28, 1963, at the “March on Washington.”
Those gathered at the Cathedral joined in the final words by saying together “Free at last, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, We are free at last.”
Elsewhere in Louisville hundreds of volunteers turned out for the 11th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service. Additionally, WDRB in the Morning, a local television show, commemorated the national day honoring Dr. King by hosting a coat drive. Individuals were invited to drop off a winter coat at the 7th Street Krispy Kreme location in exchange for a six-pack of glazed doughnuts.
More than 500 coats were collected and donated to Catholic Charities’ Migration and Refugee Services.