Victims of violence remembered at service

People gathered at Good Shepherd Church for a Service of Remembrance Dec. 6 and sang “Let There Be Peace on Earth” at the conclusion of the service. The congregation, which included two representatives of the Louisville Metro Police Department, clergy and women religious, prayed for local victims of violent crime in 2017. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

It took 10 minutes to read aloud the names of those who died in violent crimes in the Louisville Metro area this year.

Speakers took turns reciting more than 100 names at an annual Service of Remembrance held this year at Good Shepherd Church on Dec. 6.

Father Charles D. Walker, pastor of the Portland parish, said the service hosted by parishes in West Louisville is an opportunity to gather in memory of the victims and to pray.

“We have to pray or else there’s no hope of change,” he said. “I think prayer helps us talk to God about our pain. We become agents of change when God gets involved with us.

“We don’t want to be here but we have to be here,” he said, noting that prayer has the capacity to change people. “We talk to God about pain. We talk to God about tragedy. We talk to God about violence and hope that changes us and helps us be people of peace, to be people that try to work out differences instead of resorting to violence.”

Representatives of West End parishes read the names of the victims and lit candles placed on the altar.

The service also included a reflection given by Vincent James, chief of community-building for Mayor Greg Fischer’s office. James, who is also pastor of Elim Baptist Church in Parkland, said the violence that leaves community members dead also affects families left behind.

“Violence doesn’t just impact the one individual, but the whole community. Any-

time one human being takes the life of another human being it is senseless,” James said. “We have an opportunity here to make a difference because prayer does change things.”

The city of Louisville surpassed 100 homicides in 2017 earlier this month.

Emphasizing that even one murder is too many, Father Walker said, “We have to continue to bring up in our minds and bring up to God — how can we be agents of peace? That’s what we are here to do, to pray for the community and hopefully make us peacemakers in our community.”

Representatives of the Louisville Metro Police Department, women religious and clergy attended the event.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz spoke briefly at the conclusion of the service and asked God “to inspire us, to give us hope and to allow us to make a difference in reaching out into our communities.”

“We pray for those who have died, we pray for their families who continue to grieve,” he said.

The archbishop added, “We also know coming to prayer puts a special responsibility into each of our hearts. In order to take that step that God asks you and me to take. That we may not be part of the violence but be part of the solution.”

The gathering concluded with the hymn “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” Music for the service was provided by the Archdiocesan Gospel Choir and the Catholic Enrichment Center’s drummers.

The service was coordinated by the Office of Multicultural Ministry and region one churches — St. Augustine, Christ the King, Good Shepherd, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Martin de Porres and St. William parishes.

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