By GRETCHEN KEISER, Staff Writer | Published January 8, 2004
Published: January 8, 2004
ATLANTA—Catholic youth and young adults will hold a celebration Sunday, Jan. 18, to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and help carry his dream of a just society to new generations.
The celebration is part of a weekend of remembrance that begins Saturday, Jan. 17, with a 2 p.m. Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Atlanta’s oldest Catholic church.
The youthful spirit will be evident at the Mass at which Father Ricardo Bailey, who grew up in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and was ordained in 2003, will be the principal celebrant and homilist.
The Archbishop James P. Lyke Memorial Mass Choir, the Amazing Grace dancers from Our Lady of Lourdes Church and African drummers from Lyke House, the Catholic Center at the Atlanta University Center, will take part in the liturgy. This is the 20th annual archdiocesan King celebration sponsored by the Office for Black Catholic Ministry. The liturgical planning committee is headed by Katherine Woodyard and Father Glenn Parker, CSsR, of St. John the Evangelist Church, Hapeville.
Warm clothing, coats and blankets for the homeless will be collected at the Mass and also at the MLK Youth and Young Adult Celebration, which will be held at the Shrine the following day from 3 to 5 p.m.
At Sunday’s event, young performers from across the archdiocese will include the St. Thomas More School children’s choir from Decatur; the Blessed Sacrament Church youth choir and the Immaculate Heart of Mary School children’s chorus, both from Atlanta; the youth choir and Holy Steps dancers from Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Decatur; the Amazing Grace dancers; and the Lyke House drummers. Morehouse College student Will Thomas, St. John Neumann Regional School student Kyleah Starling and Christ the King School student Kinsey Simpson, who is a member of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Atlanta, will offer readings from poetry and sermons of Dr. King.
The four girls killed in the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, Ala., will be remembered.
“The youth event is really special this year. The youth and young adults want to make a statement (in light of) hearing their elders say they are blasé about what’s going on and not concerned with Dr. King’s legacy. In this whole program we want to take people back and move forward,” said John Phillips, special assistant to the Office for Black Catholic Ministry and the Office of Religious Education.
Charles Prejean, director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministry, said, “We want to give these youths and young adults the opportunity to present creatively their ideas of Dr. King’s efforts to bring about a just society.”
“They decided to do a drive for warm clothing in an effort to do something more concrete. I think it was a wonderful idea,” he added.
A committee of young adults, including Kenya Griffin of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, has been working on the program with Phillips.
The clothing and blankets will be given to the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, which distributes to all shelters. New items or cleaned used items are needed.
Girls Scouts from St. Anthony of Padua Church will collect the donations, Phillips said.
“We are constantly praying that we are doing what God wants us to do with this program,” he added.
There will be receptions after both events in the fellowship hall downstairs at the Shrine.
Free parking will be available in the Central Avenue parking lot next to the Shrine, located at 48 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, SW, Atlanta, adjacent to the state Capitol.
The federal 2004 King Holiday will be celebrated Monday, Jan. 19, and will mark the 75th birthday of Dr. King. It is the 18th celebration of the national holiday in his honor.