Forty years ago a man was killed because he had dedicated his life to bringing people together.
People of all races gathered at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica, Beaumont on Jan. 13 to honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Guest homilist Father Clarence Williams celebrated the Mass with Bishop Curtis Guillory, SVD.
“I was always taught that there are only three important days in your life. The first day is the day you’re born. The second is the day you realize why you were born and the third is the day you decide to do something about it,” Father Williams said.
Father Williams explained that Dr. King was a prime example of doing something that you were born to do and how the church can remind us where we are in life.
“We celebrate baptism in our church everyday. The baptismal font is at the front of the church so that when we walk in the door it can remind us once again that we are in the right place at the right time,” Father Williams
Father Williams went on to personalize the impact of Dr. King and his work.
“When Dr. King was killed in April of ’68 I was a junior in High School. By the time I was ready to graduate the next year I had received 12 scholarships. His work and dedication to his dream opened gates for me that would never have been opened otherwise,” Father Williams said.
Father Williams is a member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. He was the first Black priest ordained in his hometown diocese of Cleveland, Ohio in 1978. He is a noted author of such books as Racial Sobriety and Recovering from Everyday Racisms.
After Mass those in attendance were invited to a luncheon in the Cathedral Basilica Center. During the luncheon certificates were given out to parishioners in the diocese who had gone above and beyond the call of duty in the area of social justice.
John and Alice Schroder of St. Pius X, Beaumont, were honored with the Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award.
The Schroders were nominated for the award by their pastor, Father Francis Conroy.
“John and Alice devote a great portion of their weekly routine to serving the poor, the homebound and the underprivileged of our community,” Father Conroy said.
The Schroders volunteer at Henry’s Place, serving hot meals to the poor and homeless. They organize food and clothing drives through out the year for Some Other Place. Every week they visit homebound members of St. Pius X and administer the Eucharist.
“John and Alice continue to live the Beatitudes toward those who are less fortunate,” Father Conroy said.