‘If it’s prayer, it works’: Cure d’Ars to hold prayer vigil in light of recent violence

African-American liturgist Grayson Warren Brown often says, “If it’s prayer, it works,” and it’s by this principle that Cure d’Ars parish in Denver hopes to address the violence and hatred that’s been occurring throughout the country and around the world in recent weeks.

Cure d’Ars will hold a special prayer vigil for peace Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. in their church for the local Catholic community. All are invited.

A predominantly African-American parish community, a many of the parishioners of Cure d’Ars have ties to Louisiana. The recent killings in Baton Rouge of both Alton Sterling and the three police officers impacted their community greatly.

“There were so many people who were very worried because they have members of their family who are police officers,” said Cure d’Ars deacon Clarence McDavid. “Being a predominantly African-American community, were also worried because there are the issues of our sons, or the women’s husbands, or brothers or uncles. It’s doesn’t matter what their age is, they could be subjected to police violence.”

It’s not just happening outside of our town; we have lived this in our neighborhoods. We’ve got to turn to God for peace.”

Cure d’Ars has also witnessed firsthand violence in their own Park Hill neighborhood where they are located. Deacon McDavid recounted a time when the people had come out of church after Mass and saw crime scene tape across the parking lot because somebody was shot.

“It’s not just happening outside of our town; we have lived this in our neighborhoods,” said Cure d’Ars pastor Father Simon Kalonga. “We’ve got to turn to God for peace.”

Deacon McDavid said the vigil is meant to be time for prayer and also an opportunity for members of the community to speak and say how they feel about recent events. He also emphasized that politics will have no place at the vigil.

“This is about praying and sharing and praying some more,” Deacon McDavid said. “This is not a political event. This is not about one side blaming the other side. This is about saying that prayer is the only thing that’s going to make a difference.”

CURE d' ARS Mass #14

Cure d’Ars parish will hold a prayer vigil for peace on Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. The vigil was organized in response to the violence that’s been occurring not only around the world and country, but also here in Denver. (File photo)

The prayer vigil is being organized by Deacon McDavid, Father Kalonga and Sister Marion Weinzapfel, who is in residence at the parish. The patron saint of Cure d’Ars is St. John Vianney, so they decided it would be fitting to hold the vigil on his feast day, Aug. 4.

Deacon McDavid said that prayer is the greatest tool Catholics have, and that truly believing prayer will make a difference is the best thing people can do.

“One of the things we know is that when Christ went up the mountain to pray, his prayer was so fervent, so deep, so sincere, that he was transfigured right in front of his disciples,” Deacon McDavid said. “We probably can’t be transfigured, but we can be changed. If we change, then maybe somebody else will change.”

He recalled Grayson Warren Brown’s quote about prayer and said ultimately, that’s what they’re aiming for with the prayer vigil.

“One of the things he’s always says is, ‘If it’s prayer, it works,’ and that’s what we’re going off of. It’s going to be prayer, so it will work.”

Prayer Vigil for Peace

Thurs., Aug. 4, 7 p.m.
Cure d’Ars Catholic Church
3201 Dahlia St. Denver, CO 80207
For more information, visit curedarschurch.org

(Featured photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

COMING UP: French bishops call for day of prayer, fasting July 29

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French bishops call for day of prayer, fasting July 29

Rouen’s Archbishop: Take up weapons of prayer, brotherhood

French priest Father Jacques Hamel, 84, was brutally murdered July 26 while celebrating Mass at his parish in St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray. The bishops of France have called for a national day or prayer and fasting July 29 in response to the attack. (Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Rouen)

The bishops of France have called for a national day of prayer and fasting July 29, in response to the murderous attack on 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel at the hands of two self-proclaimed members of the so-called Islamic State (IS).

The attack took place in the parish of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in the northern French Archdiocese of Rouen. The two assailants were killed by French police, and another victim is in critical condition.

In a statement posted Wednesday, Archbishop Georges Pontier of Marseille, president of the French bishops’ conference, said the brutal murder of the elderly priest was “unthinkable.”

“There are many feelings that we experience in these moments,” he wrote. “We know, however, that one, brotherhood, dear to our country, is the way that leads to lasting peace. Let’s build it together.”

The archbishop invited “all Catholics of France to a day of fasting and prayer for our country and for peace in the world this Friday, July 29.”

He also asked in particular that the 30,000 French pilgrims in Poland this week for World Youth Day pray the Way of the Cross with the intention of peace for France, and for the world.

“We follow Christ in his victory over hatred, revenge and death,” he concluded. “He is our light, and our hope.”

Be apostles of love

Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen, who was leading several groups totaling some 300 pilgrims to World Youth Day, left Krakow Tuesday to return to his home diocese after learning of the attack.

“I cry out to God with all men of good will,” he said in a statement made available by the World Youth Day Communications office. “I would invite non-believers to join in the cry!”

“The Catholic Church cannot take weapons other than those of prayer and brotherhood among men,” he said. “I leave here hundreds of young people who are the future of humanity, the true ones. I ask them not to give in to the violence and become apostles of the civilization of love.”

In a press conference later that day in Krakow, Msgr. Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, secretary general of the French bishops’ conference, said that the bishops of France want to “build the civilization of love, and that’s why we are here. We don’t want violence and hate to have the upper hand.”

The ‘spark of peace’

“Neither hate nor violence is a way out,” he continued. “We cannot surrender to these sentiments. Today young people from around the world rejoice, because of this love we can live in peace and fraternity.”

“I believe that World Youth Day needs to proceed with intensity and power so that the young people might indicate the path for the Church,” Msgr. Dumas said. “We should see the horizon of peace, joy, brotherhood and prayer.”

At the opening press conference on Monday evening, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow said, “We want to show to the youth the mystery of Divine Mercy and let them take from Krakow the idea of the ‘spark of peace.’ Now in Europe, we have a time of anxiety. Peace is endangered because of brutal terrorism. That is why we want to create an atmosphere of peace, reconciliation, solidarity, and kindness which from Krakow can take over the whole world.”