By Catholic Review Staff
A large group of faith leaders from religious communities serving in the Baltimore area will participate in a prayer service Monday, April 25, at 7 p.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore.
The service will bring together people of all faiths to pray for peace, healing and unity in Baltimore on the one-year anniversary of the unrest that followed the death of Freddie Gray.
Organizers of the event are the Rev. Dr. John Deckenback, the United Church of Christ; Imam Earl El-Amin of the Muslim Community Cultural Center of Baltimore; Rabbi Steven Fink, Temple Oheb Shalom;, the Rev. Dr. Alvin Hathaway Sr., Union Baptist Church; the Rev. Wolfgang Herz-Lane, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Delaware-Maryland Synod; and Archbishop William E. Lori, Bishop Denis J. Madden and Father Donald Sterling of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Most of the leaders traveled to Rome together in March in a pilgrimage to meet with Pope Francis and to pray for peace in Baltimore. The group has been in regular dialogue over the past year to discuss ways to work together to promote peace and to address underlying problems on behalf of the city.
Rabbi Fink said the prayer service is important because “this is a crucial time in the life of our city as we need to mobilize the entire faith community in the rebuilding of Baltimore. There is so much we can do together to move from hopelessness to wholeness, from despair to hope.”
Leaders and ministers of all faiths, as well as members of their congregations, have been invited to participate and attend the prayer service, whose theme is “From Hope to Wholeness.”
The rabbi said organizers hope this prayer service will “serve as the catalyst to mobilize our respective communities to work together for the benefit of the people of Baltimore.”
Imam El-Amin said, “When we try to improve the human condition, everyone must be involved from all segments of the population. Our faith community realizes that through interaction Baltimore can grow to become a model of cooperation for other cities around the country.”
Archbishop Lori noted progress that has been made in the year since unrest swept the city.
“At this time,” he said, “as we reflect on where our city was a year ago and look ahead to the future that is possible, we join with our neighbors of all faiths and offer our collective prayers for a better Baltimore for all people.”
The service will be broadcast live via the Archdiocese of Baltimore Facebook page. For more information, visit www.archbalt.org.