Standing with civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., 50 years ago, as he delivered his “I have a dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial, was then-Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Patrick O'Boyle.
Yesterday in L’Osservatore Romano, his successor Cardinal Donald Wuerl wrote that King’s dream of working toward a more just society is now evident in the Church’s commitment to providing education opportunities to all children and offering $5.5 million in tuition assistance to struggling families in the D.C. area alone.
It is also found in the work of Catholic hospitals helping patients regardless of their ability to pay, the work study programs at Cristo Rey high schools, and the Church’s commitment to the sacredness of all life, the Cardinal writes.
As Washington's archbishop, I have witnessed King's vision of Americans praying and marching together for justice. Each year at the March, Rallies and Masses for Life, hundreds of thousands of people from across the country gather to pray and then march together in defense of the dignity of human life in all its stages.
Our faith can never be relegated to just an hour inside church on Sunday. As Pope Francis has urged us, we need to "go out" and bring Christ's love and hope to our communities and our world. That is why Catholic Charities programs and Catholic hospitals continue to bring Christ's love and hope to those who need it regardless of race, religion, gender, nationality or sexual orientation. That is why we must continue to stand for the dignity of human life, for religious freedom and for justice for immigrants.
Cardinal Wuerl quotes King, who said that only faith has the power "to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood." He points out that King made it clear that one the day when that was achieved, God would be praised with the immortal words, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
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