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Bishop leads prayer walks, helps parishes address causes of violence

Years prior to the death of Freddie Gray and the unrest that followed, one of our auxiliary bishops, Bishop Madden, began leading prayer walks in the neighborhoods of West Baltimore that are plagued by violence. The walks begin at parishes, such as St. Gregory the Great, St. Bernardine, St. Peter Claver, and others, in order to emphasize that we begin with Christ in the sanctuary and then bring his presence into the streets. A cross leads the procession and we sing as we go, stopping at several locations—often where shootings have recently occurred—for Scripture readings, testimonials, and intercession. We also stop to pray at places of hope in the community, such as job readiness and rehabilitation centers. We complement our prayer with work to address the causes of violence, such as drug addiction, pervasive poverty, access to quality education and healthcare, joblessness, and dismantled families. Many parishes put faith in action through offering social services. Others are involved in local organizing and advocacy to ensure that communities have access to the resources they need. A few parishes have worked to support centers where neighborhood conflicts are resolved by people in the community who are trained to broker peace.