Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 21, 1934 when Father James J. Kane offered Madison's first Mass in Madison's Memorial Town Hall.
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey

20160115T1105 1488 CNS MARTIN LUTHER KING 800The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is pictured in an undated file photo. The nation honors the legacy of the slain civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate with a national holiday, observed Jan. 18 this year. (CNS file photo)WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The federal holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is "an important time to recommit ourselves to the Gospel message he preached," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Rev. King's message, Cardinal DiNardo said in a Jan. 10 statement, is that "the sin of racism can be defeated by active love and the light of faith." This year the holiday is Jan. 15.

"We pray in confidence that Jesus Christ will remind us all that he is the most powerful means to break the chains of hate that still bind too many hearts, a truth which lies at the center of Dr. King's legacy," he added.

The cardinal noted, "In recent years -- including last summer in Charlottesville (Virginia) -- we have glimpsed an appalling truth that lurks beneath the surface of our culture. Even with all the progress our country has made on the issue, racism remains a living reality."

Rev. King, in 1958, said: "Along the way of life, someone must have the sense enough and the morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethics of love to the center of our lives."

"Breaking the chain of hate," Cardinal DiNardo said, "requires both courage and commitment." He cited the example of Sister Mary Antona Ebo, a Franciscan Sister of Mary and the first African-American sister to march with Rev. King in Selma, Alabama. "She remained a bold and dedicated champion of civil rights throughout her lifetime, and her witness should inspire our own," he added.

Sister Ebo told others who gathered for the march on Selma: "I'm here because I'm a Negro, a nun, a Catholic, and because I want to bear witness." She died Nov. 11 at age 93.

The act making Rev. King's birthday a national holiday was signed into law in 1983 and took effect in 1986. All 50 states observed the holiday for the first time in 2000. The holiday is observed on the third Monday in January; this year's Jan. 15 observance would have been Rev. King's 89th birthday.

The holiday also has become a national day of service for citizens to volunteer in honor of the civil rights leader who was slain nearly 50 years ago.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.