When the summer of 2009 began, the Archdiocese of Baltimore held a peace summit for Baltimore City parishes.
Violence in the city, a decades-long problem, was overwhelming its residents. The archdiocese hoped to light a spark in the parishes with the meeting, so that they would look for ways to reach out to their communities and reverse the trend.
Many have heard the call.
An example will come Oct. 17 at Patterson Park, where parishes will come together for an event called “Peace in the Park.”
Canton’s St. Brigid; Fells Point’s Holy Rosary; Highlandtown’s St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of Pompei; St. Leo in Little Italy and St. Wenceslaus in Baltimore, are sponsoring the event, which begins at 10 a.m.
Archbishop Borders School and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School are other chief supporters of the three-hour effort. Community partners include Operation Safe Streets and All About Children.
Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden, who helped lead the archdiocese peace summit, said, “This day in Patterson Park is very, very important to bring the community more and more together.”
Bishop Madden will lead a prayer service that will call on all people to take action in their communities.
Bette Brocato, pastoral associate at St. Brigid and an organizer of “Peace in the Park,” said the day is not about coming out against issues like gang violence, but providing alternatives.
Information about support programs and services will be provided by parishes, which will have decorated tables at Patterson Park.
“The idea,” Brocato said, “is we’re here, no matter what, for you.”
Those in attendance will pray and sing together. Franciscan Third Order Regular Father Robert Sisk, pastor of St. Elizabeth, will also provide a welcoming address.
Brocato said drinks will be provided for children and that people of all ages are called to be part of “Peace in the Park.”
Bishop Madden said city problems often relate to education, so a Catholic presence through churches and schools is vital. He said he was impressed with Brocato’s efforts to promote peace in the city.
“I’m so glad that the other parishes are participating in this,” Bishop Madden said. “We can do things. We can keep chipping away. We can start turning things in a better direction.”
“Peace in the Park” will be Oct. 17 at Patterson Park in Baltimore City. It will start at 10 a.m. at the corner of Eastern and Linwood avenues and last until 1 p.m.
In the event of heavy rains, the event will still take place at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church at the same time as planned.