Those honored during the Mass were (front row, left to right) Trish Bradley, Colleen Casey, Bruce Huntwork, Ann Huntwork, Maggie Gibson and Gordon Dickey; and (back row, left to right) Paul Olson, Barbara Willer, Father Bob Krueger, John Soisson, Jerry Bitz. Not pictured: Sarah Granger, Lisa Hatten, Martina Murray and Isabel Camacho.
For the fourth year, Portland’s African-American Catholics and the regular Saturday evening Mass crowd at St. Mary Cathedral mingled joyfully for a liturgy honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Mass focused on Rev. King’s message of inalienable human dignity, and non-violence in search of justice, which rang timely in light of a recent violent shooting in Tucson, Ariz., involving a federal judge, a Congresswoman and several Arizona residents.
“The celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., at this Mass, reminds us every year of our freedoms in this country — the diversity in this country — and how we should be feeling about our fellow brothers and sisters,” said Clariner Boston, a member of St. Andrew Parish and the African American Catholic Community of Oregon that organized the Mass.
“I think if people haven’t realized it they should realize now that Dr. King was such a peacemaker,” said Teletha Benjamin. “We need his message to encourage us to get our efforts together, to build a message of acceptance, and to overcome people’s belief that violence is an answer to our differences.”
Archbishop John Vlazny concelebrated the Mass with Msgr. Charles Lienert from St. Andrew Parish and Deacon Thomas Gornick of the Archdiocese of Portland.
“Dr. King’s commitment to social justice was not simply a consequence of his personal and political interests, important as they were,” said the archbishop during his homily. “It was an answer to a call that he, as a deeply religious man, heard from God which enabled him to endure racism, persucution, rejection, and ultimately death itself.”
To begin the Mass, women dressed the altar in colorful cloth.
The evening included a litany of black saints like St. Monica, St. Augustine, St. Martin de Porres, St. Peter Claver and St. Moses the Black. The gospel choir from St. Andrew Parish in Northeast Portland helped lead music for the evening. The Mass also featured a collection for the AACCO and sales of calendars for $5, from which the proceeds went to Holy Redeemer School, De La Salle North Catholic High School and St. Andrew Nativity School.
St. Andrew Parish in Northeast Portland also held a Mass honoring Dr. King.
That Mass also continued a tradition of handing out annual awards to community members who do work honoring Rev. King’s legacy.
Those honored were Father Bob Krueger, former pastor of St. Andrew, St. Andrew parishioners Maggie Gibson and Barbara Willer, peace activists Ann and Bruce Huntwork, founders of the Metanoia Peace House, and the St. Andrew Capital Campaign Steering Committee, which includes Jerry Bitz, Sarah Granger, Martina Murray, Trish Bradley, Lisa Hatten, Isabel Camacho, Colleen Casey, Paul Olson, Gordon Dickey and John Soisson.