While we are entering the Second Week in Ordinary time. The days we celebrate this week are certainly far from being ordinary days. On Monday the nation pauses to celebrate the ninetieth birthday (January 21) of Martin Luther King. Boston holds a special place in the life of Doctor King who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in combating racial inequality through non-violent resistance. Doctor King was awarded a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Boston University on June 5, 1995 and served as Assistant Minister at Boston’s historic Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury during his years of study at BU. On the same day, Monday, the Church celebrates the feast day of St Agnes, patroness of Christian virtue. Although little is known of St Agnes, she has been worshipped as a popular Roman saint who was martyred at the age of twelve during the reign of Diocletian according to reports by both St Augustine and St Ambrose. She is represented by a martyr’s palm and a lamb ( the Latin word for “lamb" is agnus).
Tuesday is the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v Wade and all of the dioceses in the United States will observe a day of prayer for the legal Protection of Unborn Children. The memorial Mass for St. Vincent, a fourth century deacon and martyr is moved to the following day, January 23. Finally, on Friday we celebrate the Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle. A popular hymn sung on this day tells the story of Paul’s conversion of the way to Damascus: “The Church celebrates today, the great Saint Paul who was her foe. Becoming an apostle true when once his Lord he came to know. The fir and heat with which he fought...the name of Christ when he was young….were turned to everlasting love for him who on the cross had hung.”
Fr John R. Mulvehill