Banquet Speaker Focuses on African American Catholics

Banquet Speaker Focuses on African American Catholics

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

A Jesuit priest who has written and spoken extensively on the experiences of African American Catholics will be the keynote speaker at this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Banquet on Feb. 17.

The event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Welch Dining Room of Lyons Hall, annually draws several hundred members and friends of the Boston College community to celebrate the legacy of the slain civil rights leader.

The banquet includes the presentation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship. This year's finalists are Roderick L. Carey, Aundrea Jamila Cline-Thomas, Linsey McCombs, Belzie Mont-Louis and Derrick Williams [see separate story].

The keynote address will be given by Rev. J-Glenn Murray, SJ, the director of the Diocese of Cleveland's Office for Pastoral Liturgy.

Fr. Murray was the principal author of a 1990 document published by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops titled "Plenty Good Room: The Spirit and Truth of African-American Catholic Worship," which calls for instilling a distinctly African American flavor to Roman Catholic worship. The document lays the theological foundation for cultural adaptations and frames the discussion of the interplay between African American culture and liturgical celebration.

The son of an atheist father and Baptist mother, Fr. Murray claims to have decided for himself at age 10 to become a Catholic. Fr. Murray has been a Jesuit priest for over 30 years.

The Philadelphia native holds a master of divinity degree with a concentration in liturgy from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Cal. He also has studied at Aquinas Institute at St. Louis University and the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

In addition to his diocesan duties and workshop schedule, he teaches liturgy, culture, and preaching at St. Mary's Seminary of Cleveland and the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. Fr. Murray also has served as liturgical coordinator and a consultant for the National Black Catholic Congresses.

The MLK Scholarship, which grants 75 percent of senior year tuition, is given to a junior who reflects King's philosophy in his or her life and work. Each candidate submits an essay on the impact of King's ideals on his or her life. Finalists are evaluated on academic performance and their extra-curricular and service activities.

The awards dinner will be highlighted by a performance of the Voices of Imani Gospel Choir.


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