Students hold peace vigil in North Camden

CAMDEN — Holy Name School in North Camden was the scene of a peace vigil Dec. 13 paying homage to those who lost their lives in the city to murder.

Those participating in the vigil included 25 high school students known as Holy Name Scholars, recipients of scholarships from Holy Name of Camden Ministry who graduated from the elementary school and went to area Catholic high schools. Many of them are still residents of North Camden.

“The ministry used to be called the Jesuit Urban Service Team (JUST) until the name was changed last year,” said Tim Gallagher who is associate director of the scholars program along with Lourdes Gonzalez.

“We focused attention on a four-block radius around Holy Name School,” said Gallagher. “At each corner we put up peace signs and stapled them on telephone poles. Students also wrote ‘Peace’ in chalk on the sidewalk.”

Father Michael McCue, an Oblate of St. Francis deSales, parochial vicar at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and director of deSales Service Works of the retreat center in Camden, blessed the area with holy water.

The vigil went from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and the participants put up banners and went around the neighborhood with flyers about the murder victims. Gallagher said he was disappointed with the lack of any city and police officials at the vigil, including Mayor Dana Redd.

“The students figure if the mayor wasn’t going to respond to the youth of the city, then they would have to stand up for themselves,” Gallagher said.

The last three days of the year a vigil will be held in the Cathedral, Gallagher said. From 7 a.m.-1 p.m. on Thursday and Friday there will be prayers and candles will be lit. Families of the murder victims have been invited along with the general public.

The vigil will continue in the Cathedral on New Year’s Eve from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. “The public is welcome to attend,” Gallagher said.

Categories: Catholic School News

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