For Camden’s murder victims

For Camden’s murder victims

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A cross bearing the name of each murder victim in Camden so far this year has been placed in the park near City Hall. At right, during a candlelight vigil, a bell was tolled for each victim.

CAMDEN — The traditional Wednesday Walk for St. Anthony of Padua Oct. 3 was planned as a Peace Walk to remember the 48 people killed this year in Camden.

“We walk up and down River Road every Wednesday to show that the streets belong to us and not to the criminals,” said Father Jud Weiksnar, pastor of St. Anthony. “It’s also a chance for us to meet people, especially those who don’t come to our church.”

The pastor said his group on the Wednesday Walks meet people “who ask for our blessings even though they’re not a member of the church. We don’t try to convert anyone to our faith but the people come up to us.”

After the walk the Transitus, a Franciscan feast, was held in the church.

Father Weiksnar said this week’s walk would take on new meaning with the placing of crosses in a park across from City Hall.

“Transitus and the crosses together was a coincidence but it does make a powerful statement,” said Father Weiksnar.

The crosses were placed by “Stop Trauma on People” (STOP), a group made up of volunteers from civic and religious groups, including Hopeworks and Heart of Camden.

The group made a second set of crosses that were placed in Roosevelt Park at 7th and Linden streets in North Camden, where much of the violent drug crime occurs. Each cross bears the name of a victim.

Perhaps the most horrific crime this year was the killing of a 2-year-old boy — beheaded by his mother who was high on drugs. But not all those murdered had any direct connection to drugs. One person, a 66-year-old man, was punched in the head after a minor traffic accident earlier this year and died.

At a candlelight vigil Oct. 1 at Roosevelt Plaza, victims’ names were read.

The crosses will remain in place until the annual New Year’s Eve vigil held by Sister Helen Cole to honor homicide victims. Cole, of Guadalupe Family Services in North Camden, started the vigil in 1995.

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