Honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through prayer and reflection


Lindsay Benza '23

The Sacred Heart Greenwich community honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the month of January.

Sacred Heart Greenwich celebrated the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. January 12 through the annual prayer service.  Students and faculty will continue honoring Dr. King’s legacy January 19 with student-run workshops.  During the prayer service, the school community heard reflections, poetry, and prayers from students and speakers.  The Concordia College GospelKnights choir typically performs live at the prayer service, however, because of coronavirus safety precautions, the prayer service featured previous recordings of their performances.

Mrs. Kerry Bader, Upper School Theology Teacher and Director of Upper School Social Justice and Service, believes that the prayer service is significant because it highlights Goal Three of the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria, “a social awareness which impels to action.”

Sacred Heart celebrates the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. prayer service virtually due to COVID-19.  Courtesy of Ms. Lucie Turkel.

“On January [12], Sacred Heart celebrated our all-school prayer service in honor of the life and legacy of Dr. King,” Mrs. Bader said.  “This annual celebration of Dr. King’s work allows us to reflect on the ways in which we can come together to accomplish great things.  It also provides an opportunity to carefully reflect on the instances in our history that resulted in prejudice and the need to see all people as children of God.”

Seniors Rachel Lherisson, Joi Almonacy, and Leah Allen shared insight and personal reflections at the prayer service.  Rachel spoke about the knowledge community members gain through celebrations of Dr. King and his legacy.  She believes that the music and reflections are a distinguishing aspect of the service that enhance the honoring of Dr. King.

Joi shares a reflection during the service.  Courtesy of Ms. Lucie Turkel.

“The [prayer service] is meaningful to me because it allows our school community to practice their faith while also reflecting on such a recent part of America’s history,” Rachel said.  “Through honoring the legacy of Dr. King, both a religious and socially active figure, the liturgy brings both spiritual and social awareness.  The liturgy introduces other forms of worship and remembrance, which allows our school community to enrich their understanding of other Christian traditions, specifically within the Black community.”

Joi looks forward to the reflections and testimonies students share at the prayer service each year because of their impact on the broader community.  This year, she had the opportunity to share a personal reflection about the personal impact that the service has had on her during her years at Sacred Heart and the ways that individuals can apply Dr. King’s message in his “I Have a Dream Speech” to everyday life.  Joi also discussed how the music and energy of the prayer service foster a strong feeling of community.  She believes the prayer service shows a deep appreciation for Dr. King as well as other civil rights advocates.

“I think the liturgy is a solid reminder of how far we have come as a society and that while there is always room for improvement all of the commitment of the civil rights figures and allies paid off,” Joi said.  “The service is a physical representation of their sacrifices.”

In addition to honoring the life of Dr. King through worship, Sacred Heart students and faculty will learn about advocacy during schoolwide workshops.  Junior Kristin Morrow will help lead these workshops.  She elaborated on the activities she will conduct to create lasting change in and beyond the school community.

“In the workshops, we will be doing activities that will bring awareness to diversity and inclusion in our lives, and in the world,” Kristin said.  “These activities will help all of us become more aware of the issues in the world that we may not think about all the time, and will help us all work towards greater change in our communities.  I hope that everyone who participates in these activities gains greater knowledge of how diversity can impact their lives, and of the many issues surrounding diversity that so many people face.”

Featured Image by Lindsay Benza ’23