King Day celebration set for Jan. 20 in KCK

Msgr. Stuart Swetland

Monsignor Stuart Swetland, president of Donnelly College, will be the guest speaker for the Kansas City, Kansas, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration scheduled for Monday, Jan. 20, at the Reardon Civic Center, 5th and Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas.

Pre-service events will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by a formal program at 11 a.m. Jan. 20. The interfaith event is free and open to the public. A freewill donation will be collected for student scholarships.

The theme for the program will be “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere,” which is a quotation from Dr. King.

The guest speaker, before arriving at Donnelly, served as the vice president for Catholic identity and director of pre-theology at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he also held the Archbishop Flynn Chair of Christian Ethics.

Msgr. Swetland received his undergraduate degree in physics from the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was first in his class academically. Elected a Rhodes Scholar in 1981, he entered the Catholic Church while studying at Oxford and was ordained a priest in 1991.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Oxford University where he studied politics, philosophy, and economics; a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary; and earned his Sacred Theology Licentiate and Sacred Theology Doctorate from the Pontifical Lateran University, in Rome. Msgr. Swetland was named a Prelate of Honor in 2000 by St. John Paul II.

In addition to his role at Donnelly, Msgr. Swetland is a Knight Commander for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre and a fourth-degree Knight of Columbus, and is the executive secretary for the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. Additionally, Msgr. Swetland is the host of the daily radio show, “Go Ask Your Father,” on Relevant Radio.

The King Day celebration on Jan. 20 in Kansas City, Kansas, will be similar to past years, according to Clarence Small, general coordinator of the event.

He added that one new aspect of the celebration will be an announcement of the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office Scholarship program. The district attorney’s office will award new scholarships at the event.

Thirty graduating high school seniors who have exemplified their belief in Dr. King’s dream will receive the Rev. C.E. Taylor – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship.

Since the beginning of the Kansas City, Kansas, King Day holiday celebration, more than $1 million has been awarded to students for scholarships.

Scholarship donations for this program may be made online to https://www.growyourgiving.org/give/give-to-another-fund#D, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration Fund, or https://gkccf.kimbia.com/king01, or “Gofundme” under KCK MLK Scholarship.

Youth, youth groups, church youth dance and praise teams are invited to participate in the pre-service program. Community organizations and vendors also are invited to participate, and may contact Clarence Small, general coordinator of the event, for more details at 913-908-4090 or smallideas1@yahoo.com.

A canned goods drive also is being held, and churches, organizations and individuals are encouraged to bring canned goods that will be donated to food pantries.

There also are plans for a 200-voice Mass Choir to provide music that evokes memories of the Civil Rights era.

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