Statement from Dr. Bernice A. King’s meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis

March 12th, 2018 represented a monumental moment in history for the King Family and The King Center. Following in the footsteps of both my mother and father, I had the blessing of having a private meeting with the Pope in Vatican City. My parents met with Pope John Paul VI in the 1960’s.

I was both humbled and honored to sit with Pope Francis in his private library at Apostolic Palace where he expressed his great admiration for my father. In turn, I had an opportunity to personally thank him for quoting my father in his 2016 Encyclical and throughout his 2015 visit to the United States. We discussed the importance of Dr. King’s Nonviolence being taught to all children around the world and I was able to share with him my deep belief that He was chosen by God during this time of division, polarization and conflict in the world to be a moral voice and an example of humility that is so needed in leadership today.

We also spoke about the 50th Anniversary of my father’s assassination which will be in April. I wanted him to know that The King Center is hosting several events and especially inviting people from all over the world to join in the ringing of bells 39 times on April 4th (date of the assassination) and concluding with the March for Humanity on April 9th (date my father was funeralized).

My visit with Pope Francis will always remain a memorable day in the history of my life and gave me great hope that together we CAN win with love for humanity.


The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center) is a 501(c)3 organization established in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King. The King Center is the official living memorial and programmatic nonprofit organization committed to educating the world on the life, legacy, and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The King Center serves to inspire new generations to carry forward his unfinished work, strengthen causes and empower change-makers who are continuing his efforts today. The King Center’s premiere educational initiative, Nonviolence365™, is based on Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy and methodology. His teaching engages participants from various sectors of society, including emerging and next generation leaders, in modules and exercises that enhance communication, leadership, interpersonal and conflict reconciliation skills.