This Monday as a nation we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for his work in promoting the dignity of the human person. In honoring his legacy, we recognize the great strides that our country has made in overcoming the racial injustices of the past as hearts and minds have been changed. We also acknowledge that much still needs to be done to heal the wounds and divisions that continue to exist in our nation. This week we also celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and we are asked to pray for the progress that is still needed to foster a true sense of unity in our nation.
As we reflect on the contributions of Dr. King, we are reminded that he has a niece named Alveda King. As we have mentioned in the past, she is a Christian woman, a mother and a grandmother, and an outspoken pro-life advocate residing here in Georgia. She often appears on television and has a national following. She also speaks about the sanctity of human life at schools and churches and states that full rights for all should include the rights of the unborn. Alveda King reminds us that as we acknowledge the strides our country has made in overcoming racial injustice, we cannot ignore another grave injustice that continues in our time. It is the injustice of the callous disregard for human life, especially the life of the unborn. Ms. King has reaffirmed her belief in the sanctity and protection of all human life from conception to natural death. She has urged us to place our faith in Jesus, the Divine Healer, and to continue to strive to change hearts and minds to correct this grave injustice.
As we reflect on the sentiments of Ms. King, we are reminded that this coming Wednesday, our bishops will celebrate a special Mass for the Unborn at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta. The Mass will bring attention to the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision of the United States Supreme Court which effectively legalized abortion in this country and which is clearly contrary to Catholic teaching concerning the fundamental dignity of the human person. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has challenged us to embrace the fundamental dignity of the human person by bearing witness not only to the value and sacredness of the unborn, but also to the elderly, and the physically and mentally ill. He also asked us to be compassionate toward those suffering from the painful trauma of abortion and to pray for their healing.
We are invited to take to heart the examples of Dr. King, his niece Alveda King, and Pope Francis and do our part in promoting the dignity of the human person as we continue on our journey of faith.