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.”
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)