Dream Entrusted To Young People, Archbishop Says
Published: January 20, 2011
Joined by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory during the Jan. 16 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Celebration at St. Peter Claver School, Decatur, Our Lady of Mercy High School juniors (l-r) Danielle Jester, Erica Hobbs and Alexandria Campbell lead the audience in singing the civil rights movement anthem, “We Shall Overcome.” (Photos by Michael Alexander)
DECATUR—A gym filled with parents and students listened to an hour of song, dance and words as young people celebrated the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Musicians from schools across the Atlanta Archdiocese performed at St. Peter Claver Regional School on Sunday, Jan. 16, as part of the annual weekend celebration of King, who would have been 82 on Jan. 15. The celebration’s theme was “Your Kindness Should be Known to All,” taken from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
The crowd watches as Catholic school youth celebrate the life and legacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the youth celebration.
The event was organized by the Office of Catholic Schools and the archdiocesan Black Catholic Ministry. Father John Adamski and Kathy Merritt served as the youth celebration committee.
Participating in the day were students from Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Atlanta, Our Lady of Mercy High School, Fayetteville, St. John the Evangelist School, Hapeville, and Decatur schools, St. Peter Claver and St. Thomas More.
Kayla Ward, an eighth-grader at St. Joseph School, Athens, reads her first place essay during the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Celebration. The essays were written based on this year’s theme, “Your Kindness Should Be Known to All.”
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory attended the celebration, handing out certificates to the award winners. In brief remarks, he said there were other King celebrations that may be more solemn or more formal, but this was special because the participants are “from the city Dr. King called home.”
The young people showed the dream and the promise that King called the community to support, he said. King’s movement has been “entrusted to us and we, in turn, entrust it to our children and the future,” he said.
Tom Gissy, Knights of Columbus District Master Fourth Degree for the state of Georgia, and his honor guard joined ranks with the Knights of Peter Claver to represent the archbishop’s honor guard at the Saturday Mass.
Kayla Ward was born 28 years after the civil rights icon was slain. Despite the gap in time and personal circumstances, the young girl, an eighth-grader at St. Joseph School, Athens, said she learned through her research on King to look at the similarities between people who on the surface appear very different from each other.
“We can all be brought together and remember Dr. Martin Luther King and what he did for us,” said the 14-year-old.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, center, conducts the opening prayer of the 27th annual eucharistic celebration honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Standing with the archbishop is Rev. Mr. Alfred Mitchell, Deacon of Word and homilist, background left, and Rev. Mr. Fred Sambrone, Deacon of the Eucharist, right.
Ward, who admitted that English is not her favorite subject, won the top essay prize as part of the youth celebration. Given the project as homework, Ward said she took about a week to finish the 250-word writing assignment. She reflected on the day’s biblical theme and what it would mean to a teenager but also to everyone. Ward said she thought of how she would help others and what she sees others doing. She celebrated the award with her parents, Laura and David Ward.