City parish remembers Dr. King and victims of violence with prayer walk

By Catholic Review Staff
WEST BALTIMORE – In a fitting tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., members of the Catholic community in West Baltimore and beyond combined two staples from the civil rights icon’s activism – prayer and marching.

Leaving from St. Bernardine Parish, the group of more than 100 walked through the surrounding neighborhood.

At three spots where city residents had lost their lives to violence, St. Bernardine’s Deacon Wardell Barksdale offered a short remembrance.

Monsignor Richard J. Bozzelli, pastor, called the prayer walk “our opportunity to witness to our neighbors that we are a people of peace, and to invite them to be people of peace as well, and walk with us.”

“For the parish it’s a way to honor Martin Luther King and Monsignor Miller,” he added, referring to Monsignor Edward M. Miller, who served St. Bernardine for 38 years before he died in 2013.  

Bishop Denis J. Madden, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore, led the walk, which was joined by Bishop-designate Mark E. Brennan, who will be ordained as auxiliary bishop with Bishop-designate Adam J. Parker Jan. 19 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland.

People gather at St. Bernardine in Baltimore for a Jan. 16 prayer walk. (Kevin J. Parks/CR Staff)

City Councilman Kristerfer Burnett, newly elected to the 8th district, also participated.

“Dr. King literally gave his life for peace,” noted Bishop Madden. “There is hope for us even in desperate situations – you’ll find the most beautiful people in this area, which is plagued by violence.”

“It gives me hope,” said Charron Oliver, a St. Bernardine parishioner who walked. “I like to see people become engaged. When people come together, good things happen.”

Meghan Murphy, a parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi in Baltimore, brought her 7-year-old son, Dylan.

“I wanted to do something productive with my son, and we heard about the walk,” she said. “The message of peace is important for Martin Luther King and Christ.”

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