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Prayer service, blood drive to honor King’s Legacy

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Over this long weekend in January, the Office of Cultural Diversity is inviting members of the archdiocese to join them in Dorchester for events commemorating the life and legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The 14th annual evening prayer service will be held on Sunday, Jan.18 at 7 p.m. at Dorchester’s St. Katharine Drexel Church. The presider and homilist at the prayer service will be Deacon John McVoy from Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston.

Providing the music for the service will be the Archdiocese of Boston’s Black Catholic Choir, directed by Myer Chambers and a choir from the local Kenyan community, who will sing preludes before each prayer. Also on the program is a reading of King’s April 3, 1968 speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” which will be given by a member of the youth community, Freymers Beaubrun.

“The prayer service is held to remember Martin Luther King; to remember what he has done, what we have been through and where we are going,” said Lorna DesRoses, the coordinator of Black Catholic Ministries.

The final portion of this weekend’s program, the annual blood drive, honors Martin Luther King’s legacy of helping others by calling the community to do their part in upholding his legacy.

In addition to the Sunday prayer service, the Office of Cultural Diversity, in conjunction with the American Red Cross, is hosting its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Blood Drive. Also taking place at St. Katharine Drexel Church, the blood drive will be held on Monday from 12-5 p.m.

Begun here in Boston in 2003, the blood drive is seen as another way to honor King’s memory by “giving the gift of life.”

“Why not give blood to remember him?” said DesRoses. “This is a way for people to give of themselves,” she said, “Make it a day of purpose.”

According the Red Cross, anyone 17 years of age or older, weighing 110 pounds or more and feeling in good health may be eligible to donate blood.

“I am very excited about the events this weekend and I know many people are excited,” said DesRoses. “In recent years we have had a really great turnout and I expect a similar turnout this year.”

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