Story and photos by LIZ QUIRIN
On Jan. 19 the parish community of St. Augustine of Hippo celebrated the anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with praise dancers and words about the late civil rights leader.
Pastor Father Carroll Mizicko, OFM spoke of the Sunday readings and Dr. King in his homily.
John the Baptist was described in that Sunday’s Gospel as someone “crying in the wilderness, the desert, pointing to someone who would come after him.
Dr. King, a kind of 20th century prophet, was also crying in a desert, one made by man that restricted and denied people of color access to justice, to equal rights, to basic human freedoms, what some might describe as a kind of “promised land.”
With supporters and volunteers that grew in number and strength as the scope of the injustice became known, Dr. King persevered.
Father Mizicko described prophets as people who “stand steadfast in communion with other believers, but refuse to accept a place in the comfortable center where there is no access to those who do not feel included.
“Prophets are also dreamers,” Father Mizicko said, “people who do not simply accept the way things are, but with God’s guidance look at and point the way to how things should be.”
Dr. King has not been this nation’s only dreamer, the pastor said.
When settlers came to this country when it was new, they had dreams as well. Some wanted religious freedom; others wanted to find a place to settle, to raise a family, to become part of the fabric of a growing society.
While much progress has been made in helping people to turn dreams into reality, so many people stand on the margins, waiting for someone to reach out to assist them.
“There are still rough places of ignorance and unemployment that need to be made smooth,” Father Mizicko said.
Today’s dream is “rooted in faith in a God who hears the cries of his people and who calls his people to work for peace and justice and show genuine concern for their brothers and sisters of all races, cultures and religions.”