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Highlighting those that live and share their faith

During this Black History Month, it seems fitting to take a look back at the speakers at the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., prayer breakfast, which was held Jan. 13. The two dynamic speakers, who live and share their Catholic faith, were Orville E. Ifill and Dr. Lena Powe McDonald.

Orville E. Ifill

Ifill is a very active member of Our Lady Queen of the Universe Catholic Church in Birmingham. At the church, of which he and his family are founding members, he has served on the Parish Council, on the Finance Council, as a sacristan, as a lector, as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and as the janitor. Ifill is an active member of the church’s Knight of Peter Claver Council #140.

Ifill attended Holy Family Elementary School and High School where he graduated in 1970. After high school, he attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., and graduated with a BA in political science in 1974. He has worked in various occupations in areas of politics and retired from the Jefferson County Commission after 24 years of service.

He is married to the former Joan Crawford. He has a daughter, Rachel Ifill Sales, and two grandchildren, Caleb and Joshua.

Dr. Lena Powe McDonald

McDonald is an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fairfield. She attended Holy Family Elementary School, and she is a 2004 graduate of John Carroll Catholic High School. McDonald serves as associate commissioner for academic relations for the SEC. In her role, she leads SEC activities meant to highlight the academic accomplishments and impact of SEC universities, including academically focused intercollegiate athletics opportunities. 

In 2023, McDonald was named a Top Alumni Under 40 by the College of Education at The University of Alabama, and she is a member of the 2023-2024 Class of the Alabama Leadership Initiative. She is also an active member of several boards including the Board of Directors of the Capstone Education Society at UA and the Advisory Board of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB.

She is married to Lyndell McDonald, and they are blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Lynnlee Faith McDonald.