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MLK niece to speak on pro-life cause in Boston next month


Alveda King is director of African-American outreach for the Catholic organization Priests for Life. CNS file photo/courtesy Kristina Hernandez

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BOSTON -- The niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will travel to Boston in November to speak to Boston's Christian community on behalf of the unborn.

Hosted by the Franciscans of Primitive Observance and St. Patrick Parish in Roxbury, Alveda C. King, will speak at a public event at the parish Nov. 8 in the afternoon. She will also speak that evening at an invitation-only event for an ecumenical group of Christian pastors from Boston.

Father Walter J. Waldron, the pastor of St. Patrick's, and Brother James Wartman, FPO, who helped arrange King's visit, spoke about why the event is important to the community.

"We have always been a parish that has been big on pro-life. We have teenagers that go down to the pro-life march in Washington every year. We dedicate all of October to pro-life. We have one day in October that we have the Blessed Sacrament exposed all day, and people come in all day, so this really is just another concrete way of showing our parish's commitment to the cause of life," Father Waldron said.

King serves as a Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries in New York. Daughter of Rev. A.D. King and his wife Naomi Barber King, she grew up during the civil rights movement led by her uncle. According to the Priests for Life website, she sees advocacy on behalf of the unborn as an extension of the civil rights struggle.

King is not Catholic, but maintains advocacy for the unborn as part of her work with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, sharing her testimony of two abortions, God's forgiveness, and healing.

Father Waldron said King's involvement shows that the pro-life cause is not just a Catholic issue.

"They have to know that there are loads of people who are not Catholic, who are convinced of the value of human life from the point of conception on," he said.

According to Priests for Life, Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America with 78 percent of their clinics in minority communities. Another statistic shows that only 12 percent of America women are Black, yet they receive 35 percent of the abortions performed in this country.

Brother James said he has seen the effect of these statistics in the neighborhoods where he works.

"When we do talk about the issue, they are very quick to just kind of turn their heads. After you get them to talking about it, everybody knows somebody, or many of them have had abortions," he said.

Brother James said he hopes the event can stimulate further conversation around the issue between Christians, and that the event may lead to further events related to the Gospel of Life in the future -- particularly involving young people.

"Hopefully, it will develop into something so that it grows," he said.

He said he sees hope in small steps as numbers of young people increase at events like the March for Life in Washington each year, including the group of young people from St. Patrick's which has increased year-to-year.

"You go to the March for Life and you see hundreds of thousands, see all the young people. I would love to see that sort of growth in the young people here," he said.

Those interested in attending the public event can contact the parish at www.saintpatricksroxbury.com or visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/StPatrickRoxbury for more information.

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