Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Service reflects on King’s life and work, looks forward with determination

More than 700 students, administrators, faculty, staff and guests gathered late Monday evening (Jan. 16) in the University of Notre Dame’s Main Building Rotunda for a candlelight prayer service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., led the group in prayer and reflection on the life and words of King.

Participants form a candlelight procession following a prayer service in the Main Building in observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A candlelight procession forms following the prayer service

Father Jenkins opened the service with the following prayer:

“Dear Lord, we stand together before you, as people have for countless generations in hope, in sorrow, in joy, and in pain. Help us, we pray, as we look back at the life and words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: May we also look forward with determination. May our celebration tonight and this week propel us. May it motivate us. May it energize us. May it unite us in a commitment to respect and admire and learn from what makes each of us unique, and beloved, and chosen by you, our loving and merciful God. We pray in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

The service also included songs performed by the Voices of Faith Gospel Choir, a reading from the book of the prophet Amos and remarks by University administrators, including Rev. Hugh R. Page Jr., vice president and associate provost for undergraduate affairs.

In concluding the service, Father Jenkins prayed:

“Lord our God, see how oppression and violence are our sad inheritance, one generation to the next. We look for you where the lowly are raised up, where the mighty are brought down. We find you there in your servants, and we give you thanks this day for your preacher and witness, Martin Luther King Jr.

“Fill us with your spirit: Where our human community is divided by racism, torn by repression, saddened by fear and ignorance, may we give ourselves to your work of healing.”

A candlelit procession to the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue followed the prayer service, which was sponsored by the Office of the President, Campus Ministry and the President’s Oversight Committee on Diversity.

The University has designated the week of Jan. 22-27 as Walk the Walk Week. For more information about Walk the Walk Week events, visit /walk-the-walk/.

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Originally published by William G. Gilroy at on January 17, 2017.