Monday, December 15, 2014

Albuquerque Homeless Persons Memorial Vigil this Friday, December 19

Every December, the community of agencies supporting men, women and children who experience homelessness joins with some of  the people who do not have a permanent shelter (or who were once homeless) to plan a procession and ceremony to remember those men and women who died outdoors in Albuquerque during the past year. The vigil this year is scheduled for Friday, December 19, from Noon until 3:30 p.m.

Noon: Participants will gather at the Memorial Wall outside Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, 1217 First St. NW (near First and Mountain). Lunch will be provided at Noon. There will be a short ceremony at 12:45 p.m.

1:00 p.m. March from Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 619 Cooper Ave. NW.  Participants will walk in silence to make their presence powerful.

2:00-3:30 p.m. Memorial Vigil inside Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

The vigil is a powerful reminder that each of these individuals who lost their lives on the street was a person to be valued. These are individuals from all walks of life. Some might have been battling addiction or were military veterans. Some might have died during an attack; others were simply victims of the elements. What they had in common is that they became more vulnerable simply because they did not have a roof over their heads.

Ana Powell, who once worked at St. Martin's Hospitality Center, wrote her reflections about the vigil in December 2009 in her blog Coluna da Milk. Her words were originally written in Portuguese for her readers in Brazil and  the U.S. Here are some excerpts:
Before the vigil, people gather at the patio of  Albuquerque Health are for the Homeless...Participants prepare to walk through downtown to the church....The ceremony inside the church was very beautiful, including the opening comments by a minister...the music...the poetry...I cried a lot...especially when they played the song In My Life by the Beatles, and also when a Native American sang some songs from the Sioux tradition...After all this, we lit the candles in the name of each person and read his or her name out loud. Then there was a moment of silence when we all blew out the candles at the same time. This was a very intense moment!...The vigil ended with all of us singing We Shall Overcome. I cried again....
My thoughts at the moment were that there was nothing better than ending my work year with a ceremony like this one: walking alongside our clients, listening to what they had to tell us, singing and praying together, and celebrating the memory of of those who lived anonymously in the streets of Albuquerque...Oh my God, I am crying again as I write this. (Sighs) 

No comments: