Saturday, December 10, 2016

Albuquerque Homeless Memorial Vigil Scheduled for Dec. 21

The death rate among people who do not have a permanent home is much higher than among the general population. And the causes of death are so incredible. A person who lives on the street can die quickly from the flu or viral pneumonia. We have clients who freeze to death, and others are victims of random violence...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...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.
Ana Powell, then a member of the staff at St. Martin's Hospitality Center wrote a beautiful account about the Homeless Persons Memorial Vigil in 2009. The piece was originally posted  in Portugese in her blog Coluna da Milk,  We carried translated excerpts in the Bread New Mexico blog. While the specifics vary from year to year, the intentions to honor those unhoused individuals who died because of a lack of permanent shelter have not changed.

As has been the case every year, the vigil begins with a procession starting at Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, 1217 1st St. NW (map) at 12:30 p.m. this year. Several downtown churches have been the destination in the past, including First United Methodist Church, The Episcopal Cathedral of St. John and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Each of those churches has hosted a memorial service. This year, the service will be held at The Rock of Noon Day, 200 2nd St.  NW (map) at 2:00 p.m. Here is the official flyer.

No comments: