Prayer Service honors victims of violence

Participants listened during the ninth annual Service of Remembrance for victims of violence at St. Augustine Church on 13th and Broadway Nov. 14. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

Reminded of the lost potential when young people die by violence, the Louisville community remembered local victims of violence Nov. 14 during an annual Service of Remembrance held at St. Augustine Church on 13th and Broadway.

Father George Otuma, pastor of St. Augustine, Christ the King and Immaculate Heart of Mary churches, welcomed about 50 people — clergy and laity — and prayed that God would comfort grieving families. 

“We are here to remember loved ones gone too soon because of violence,” said Father Otuma. “We pray God will bring comfort and healing to our communities. Furthermore, we pray for wisdom” to know how to respond to violence.

Father Otuma also called on those gathered to “condemn violence.”

Rita Ward, a member of St. William Church, read a list of names of those killed by violence this year. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

During the service, held in the parish hall, participants lit candles and read the names and ages of those who have lost their lives to violence since January. 

M. Annette Mandley-Turner, executive director of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Multicultural Ministry, said the young persons who died this year may have had the potential to solve problems facing the community. 

“A few of them could have had a remedy for racism; some of the names you heard could have been the teachers we so badly need in our schools,” said Mandley-Turner. “Enough is enough. … The violence is too great. The pain is too deep. We’ve got to do something.”

She said she doesn’t have the answer for what needs to be done, but “together we can do something. We can go back to our parishes and not make it the role of the social concerns committee and make it the role of each parishioner to take a stand.”

Betsy Dragoo, a member of St. William Church, lit a candle as the name of each victim of violence was read. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

In closing the service, Father Deogratias Ssamba, pastor of Good Shepherd Church, led the gathering in a pledge of nonviolence: “In the name of the God of peace and nonviolent Jesus, I pledge today to live, practice and teach the nonviolence of Jesus, to renounce violence and to non-cooperate with the world’s violence; to love everyone as my sister and brother; to respond with love and not to retaliate with violence.” 

Following the pledge, Father William Bowling, pastor of St. Martin de Porres and Holy Name churches, led the group in a closing prayer. Those gathered also had the opportunity to share a meal and fellowship. 

The service was sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Ministry in collaboration with Region One parishes — St. Augustine, St. Martin de Porres, Christ the King, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Good Shepherd and St. William churches.

Participants, including from left, Deacon James Turner, Father William Bowling, Loueva Moss, a member of Christ the King Church, and Father George Otuma, recited a pledge of nonviolence. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)
Ruby Thomas
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