Ahead of the federal holiday commemorating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the U.S. bishops said that we should continue to heed King’s “call to action” on behalf of justice and peace given divisions within our society.

The bishops’ statement was written by Archbishop Timothy Broglio, head of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“On Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day we pause and reflect on Rev. King’s indelible legacy and his rallying cry in the pursuit of justice and peace,” Broglio said.

Broglio said that the renowned civil rights leader, known for his “I Have a Dream” speech delivered at the March on Washington in 1963, taught that “we must confront the evils of racism and prejudice with the love of Christ.”

Quoting King, he wrote: “‘Deeply etched in the fiber of our religious tradition is the conviction that men are made in the image of God ... the heirs of a legacy of dignity and worth. ... This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men.’”

Broglio said that King’s message remains especially relevant today, “given the issues of migration, antisemitism, and racial and religious discrimination touching our communities.”

“There remain forces in the human condition that would tear asunder what has been accomplished,” he said. “We are reminded that the work of bringing people together in mutual recognition and cooperation is never really done.”

“Each of us can and must work for justice and peace, remembering Rev. King’s call to action,” he said. “Let us remain vigilant to take advantage of positive signs existing in evangelization efforts and continued civic progress within human relations. These things help shape communities that manifest the affirmative outcomes arising from our varied races, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds.”

Broglio went on to say that the Catholic Church is “committed to this endeavor and willingly clasps hands and hearts with all others of like mind, faith, and hope.”

King’s advocacy of nonviolent protest on behalf of civil rights for Black Americans earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

On Nov. 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan honored Martin Luther King Jr. by making the third Monday in January a federal holiday.