Invocation at the Reopening of the Martin Luther King Hospital

On August 7, I was invited by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to give the introductory invocation at the reopening of the Martin Luther King Hospital.  Besides the Supervisor, in attendance were Mayor Garcetti, Congress Member Janice Hahn, other dignitaries as well as hundreds of community participants.  I wanted to share my invocation comments with the Verbum Dei community:

  • Verbum Dei
    • Founded in 1962 as a School of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, run by the Society of the Divine Word
    • The Jesuits were asked to assume the leadership of the school in 2000, to build on its proud history and to devise a new model of education:
      • We are a College Prep School for the young men of the Greater Watts Community
      • Every student works one day a week in a corporate office which provides career training and scholarship money.
      • The Verb offers a full range of sports and club activities
      • 100 % of those that graduate are accepted into college.
    • We are dedicated to the students of Watts, and the Verb provides a special education for any young man who has the grit and determination to be successful
    • We are also dedicated to the community of Watts and support every effort that makes life better for all members of the community.
  • Because Verbum Dei is dedicated to the community, I am delighted that Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has asked us to participate in this event today.  The reopening of MLK hospital speaks of a New Day for the hospital and for South Los Angeles.
  • These days especially, we recall the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s
  • This year we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Riots/Revolution that occurred in 1965.
  • Whatever we call it, there was some movement forward in civil rights at that time, but there were lots of people hurt in the mayhem.
  • Today, we are experiencing another Civil Rights Moment in this country.
    • What we are celebrating here today is what can happen when people come together not for the destruction of an old order, but the for the building of a New Day
  • The words that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize come to mind on this occasion of the reopening of MLK Hospital.
  • Dr. King stated:
  • “Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”
    • (December 11, 1964 upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize at which he acknowledged all those who non-violently work for justice)
  • Today is such a moment. So let us pray together as a community:
  • Loving God, bless our efforts today;
    • Bless the doctors and nurses and staff who will work in this facility;
    • Bless the administrators with the wisdom to direct the hospital for the good of all;
    • Bless our civic leaders with compassion and continuing support for these efforts;
    • Bless the community with insight and patience as we move forward together to a New Day.
    • We ask this all in your holy name.
  • Amen

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