GUEST COLUMNIST | In need of revival: God is the source, we are the breeding vessels

A few weeks ago, someone reminded me of the North City Deanery Revival in 2006, when I preached for three consecutive nights. Neither of us knew that years later, I would become pastor at the very site of that revival -- St. Nicholas Parish in downtown St. Louis.

The mention of the revival inspired memories of another one that I led in Atlanta, at historic Our Lady of Lourdes Church. Founded in the 1920s in the Sweet Auburn section of the city, it was the geographic Catholic parish of Dr. Martin Luther King's boyhood address. The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change and the sacred grave site were built downhill in the shadow of the parish church's steeple.

For the days that I was a revivalist there, I prayed with ecumenical connectedness at the eternal flame and the tomb. I implored God directly and in intercession through the great miraculous vessel, Our Lady of Lourdes, for our country to bring to fruition Dr. King's vision for humanity. I felt Pentecostal energy. Within myself, I experienced a revival.

Similar prayers have been lifted up in our region as we have been shell-shocked from the events that took place in the summer and the fall. We have gathered in churches of various denominations, and we have prayed, sung and walked together for peace and justice in God's name. The faithful from different quadrants of our area have come together in intervals for "Faith in Ferguson". In such prayer services, we open up our hearts individually and collectively for God and the saints to hear us. We call out on behalf of the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner of Staten Island -- names now well-known throughout the world.

Yet, we also cry out with pleading hearts on behalf of those who are lesser known from our community. People such as Chelsea Harris, Jared Young and the growing number of young people who have died on our streets.

Our prayer becomes a time and place for us to receive spiritual fuel for finding ways to eradicate the incubators that breed violence and hatred. Archbishop Robert J. Carlson is scheduled to lead us in such a prayer event at a crucial time in our local history. The Mass for the Preservation of Peace and Justice in the Dr. Martin Luther King National Holiday Weekend is planned for 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Join us then and at the reception in Boland Hall honoring the 2015 Model of Justice honorees following the Mass. We need hope and direction. God displays such characteristics when we gather in His name.

Our society, our homes, our inner selves can breed revival. The source is God who works through us for individual and systemic change.

Father Cavitt is executive director of the St. Charles Lwanga Center, which is supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal. He is the pastor of St. Nicholas Parish in Downtown St. Louis.

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