Societies today need “artisans of peace,” like the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., “who can be messengers and authentic witnesses of God the Father, who wills the good and the happiness of the human family,” said the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Rev. King “was a messenger and true witness to the power of the Gospel lived in action through public life,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston in a statement issued for the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 21st January, the federal holiday marking his birthday.
The civil rights leader was born on 15th January 1929, and was fatally shot on 4th April 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.
“This year, as we again mark the anniversary of his life, and reflect upon the 51st anniversary of his death, we are thankful for the path forged by Dr. King and the countless others who worked tirelessly and suffered greatly in the fight for racial equality and justice,” the cardinal said.
He added that the United States, “as a nation and as a society,” faces “great challenges as well as tremendous opportunities ahead.”
Cardinal DiNardo made reference to Pope Francis’ annual message for the World Day of Peace on 1st January. The pope said that in today’s climate of mistrust, rejection and nationalism, the world urgently needs peacemakers and politicians who protect and lovingly serve others.
Picture: Civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. smiles during a talk with US President Lyndon B. Johnson, not pictured, in this undated photo. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law on 2nd July 1964. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated on 21st January this year. (CNS photo/Yoichi Okamoto, courtesy LBJ Library).