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Diocese remembers Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Catholic Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama held its annual prayer breakfast in commemoration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Cathedral of St. Paul’s Life Center. The theme was “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” Those attending had the pleasure of hearing from several dynamic speakers and honoring the recipients of the Sister Rita Washington, S.F.C.C., Stewardship Award.

The award, which is named after the first director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministry, was established in 2011 to honor her servant leadership. Recipients of the Sister Rita Washington, S.F.C.C., Stewardship Award are chosen based on their commitment and stewardship to the diocese, the Office of Black Catholic Ministry, their parish, and their community.

This year Alexander and Sharon Brewer were honored alongside John Meehan. The couple, married for more than 25 years, is committed to uplifting and empowering people through their service. Dedicated members of Holy Family Catholic Church in Ensley, the Brewers have made prayer and trust in God the foundation of their family, which includes their daughter, Alexas.

Alexander is a Marine Corps veteran and currently works as a vice president of information security for City National Bank. He serves as a Red Cross Disaster Team volunteer, an AARP Fraud Prevention team volunteer, and a volunteer member of the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association. Alexander also serves on the Board of Directors for the FBI Citizens Academy and is a member of the Birmingham Chapter of InFragard. For the past decade, he has served as a volunteer on the U.S. Secret Service Financial and Electronic Crimes Task Force, the Central and Northern Alabama Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Central and Northern Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force.

Alexander converted to Catholicism in 2005 and has served the parish in many different capacities including Parish Council president and vice president, usher, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and knight of the Knights of Peter Claver Council 272.

Sharon retired from the business development division of UPS after 32 years of service. She currently works part time with the Birmingham Municipal Court System as a common ground coach, training students and adults on how to navigate conflict resolution. She attended Holy Family Elementary and High School. Presently, she serves as Holy Family Catholic Academy’s Board president. Sharon is also a founding member of The Holy Family 100, which is a support group for Holy Family Catholic Academy, and she played a pivotal role in securing funding for the Alabama First Class Pre-K Program currently at Holy Family.

Sharon is a lifelong member of Holy Family Catholic Church and serves as a lector, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and lady and junior daughter counselor of the Knights of Peter Claver Court 272. She is also a member of the Knights of Peter Claver Meritorious 4th Degree Ladies of Grace Infant of Prague Chapter 19.

In 2021, the Brewers purchased the old Holy Family Gym and transitioned it to the HF Enrichment Center, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The couple hopes the facility will provide much-needed services to the community, including space open to children for sports activities as well as a space for community training and seminars for adults. 

The next award recipient, John Carroll Meehan, was born in Birmingham in 1956 to the late John Thomas Meehan and Bernice Swindall Meehan and received the sacrament of baptism at the Cathedral of St. Paul. A graduate of Phillips High School, Meehan attended Jefferson State Junior College and the University of Alabama in Birmingham, majoring in political science. He is employed at Dothan Security Inc.

Meehan is a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church where he serves on the parish council, on the fundraising committee, as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and as a lector. Meehan also serves at chairman of the social action committee.

In 2005, Meehan organized programs around Earth Day, including “Earth Day Movie Sunday,” which focused on climate change. He organized the first diocesan Green Mass in 2019 and is a founding member of the Village Creek Environmental Justice Society, which works to improve the quality of life in Birmingham’s 44-mile watershed. 

In the Feb. 16 issue of the One Voice e-news, the guest speakers at the prayer breakfast, Orville E. Ifill and Dr. Lena Powe McDonald, will be highlighted.

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