Bishop Madden to hold peace talks with youth and parish leaders

Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden will meet with parish leaders and youths May 27 in hopes of charting a peaceful course for Baltimore City.

The meeting at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Roland Park will be preceded by a news conference by Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien. The archbishop will speak with other interfaith and ecumenical leaders prior to the conference.

After the archbishop’s meeting, the leaders hope to make “a strong statement” about their desire to continue to work for peace in the city, Bishop Madden said.

Bishop Madden’s 3 p.m. meeting will have several tiers over a five-hour period and follow a successful conference from last year.

Baltimore City officials attended last year, joining parish representatives to discuss all aspects of violence in the city.

Church youths will kick off this year’s conference and will speak about who bears responsibility for violence in the city.

“We feel that there’s sometimes a breakdown in perceptions,” Bishop Madden said.

Parishes will then speak about their own successes in neighborhoods before noted activist Coleman McCarthy will talk about preparing for peace in the city.

Prior to the meeting, participants will fill out surveys answering specific questions about what ills in their neighborhoods are leading to violence and how peaceful solutions can be reached. Lottie Snead, who works for a local community development and leadership organization, will review the results of the survey with participants.

Bishop Madden has met monthly with several dedicated pastors to discuss developments. Their insights have provided him with a greater understanding of issues facing youths in the city. The bishop said parishes like St. Veronica, Cherry Hill, and St. Wenceslaus and St. Ann in Baltimore are making a difference.

“They’re the ones right there on the spot,” Bishop Madden said. “Together, we’re working to help bring about a non-violent stand in the city.”

The meeting will end with a commissioning service asking for a commitment to peace.

“We really will show we’re serious about this,” Bishop Madden said, “especially during the summer months we’re facing,”

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.