I joined Bishop Madden and about 50 other people for my second Prayer Walk for Peace through a distressed neighborhood in West Baltimore.
With a police escort to manage the traffic, we walked past the vacant, boarded up buildings, past the curious onlookers, singing all the way. We made quite a chorus!
This neighborhood has seen a lot of violence. We stopped at a street corner where a young black man had recently been killed. We prayed for him and his family.
And then we walked on, singing and greeting people along the way.
PRAYER FOR OUR COMMUNITY
We ask, O God, that you bless our community;
as well as all our communities.
We raise up those in the darkness of addiction,
gang activity and violence.
For those who have lost their lives on the streets
and for those who still mourn and seek justice.
We pray for the conversion of heart
for ll who choose death over life.
We stopped at an elementary school where gangs regularly make their deals. Young kids are just as likely to hear bullets and police sirens as they are the school bells. Another young man had been shot to death right outside of the school.
Give us, O God, the Depth of Soul
to constrain our might, to resist temptation
and to understand that vengeance begets violence
and that we stand for peace —
not violence wherever we go.
I didn’t know that Justice Thurgood Marshall was raised in this neighborhood!
For you, O God, have been merciful to Us!
For you, O God, have been patient with Us!
For you, O God, have been gracious to Us!
And so may we be merciful,
And be the instruments of Your Peace!
We Ask this in the Holy Name of Jesus!
As the sun began to set, we headed back to the church. I felt this Peace Walk was the perfect capstone to my 6 months in Baltimore. I’m leaving Saturday with gratitude in my heart for the love and support of good friends here.
Bishop Madden spent many years living and working in the West Bank and Gaza. He recommended I visit with the Sisters of Saint Francis when I get to Gaza and wished me a safe trip. He said he would pray for me, and he asked me to pray for him. I will!