The commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has inspired all kinds of gatherings on April 4, including one to be led by the leader of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis that will attract visitors from as far away as Rome, Italy.
“St. Martin de Pores is the patron saint of social justice,” said Rev. Augustine DeArmond, St. Peter Church pastor. “Since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a guiding force in social justice in this country, it seems appropriate to pray at our shrine and then pray at the National Civil Rights Museum.”
The day will begin with prayer with Dominican Friars from all over North America who are coming to the city specifically for this event.
Rev. DeArmond said Rev. Chris Eggeton, O.P., the second-ranking Dominican Friar for North America, will travel from Rome to attend.
After prayers, the Dominican Friars (who are Catholic priests) will be available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) followed by a Rosary at 1 p.m. and a 1:30 p.m. Mass celebrated by the Most Rev. Martin D. Holley, Catholic Bishop of Memphis.
At approximately 2:45 p.m., the crowd will then march west down Adams Ave. to Main Street and on to the National Civil Rights Museum.
Organizers have named their event “From Martin to Martin with Martin,” noting that they’re paying homage to St. Martin de Porres and Dr. King with the Bishop named Martin, one of eight active African American prelates in the United States.
Bishop Martin Holley leads the Catholic faithful in all 21 counties of West Tennessee.
St. Martin de Porres, born in Lima, Peru on December 9, 1579 was the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a Panamanian slave. He is the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and all those seeking racial harmony.