A London gun and knife crime prayer vigil is to take place at Westminster Cathedral on Friday.
The vigil is organised by Pasture, a group of Catholics, with a special interest in the young in the streets of London who are involved in gangs, knife and gun crimes.
In a message of support, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, said: “Gun crime and violence are an all too present reality in our society. Their causes are endlessly discussed and there is much apportioning of blame. But whatever the sources and causes may be, the violence destroys the lives of individuals and does dreadful damage to communities. I welcome all initiatives that can help our society to reduce the levels of violence in all its forms. The Gospel tells us to ask in prayer, so that we may receive. May prayer, expressed in Faith, and underpinned by Hope, provide a turning point. May all of us root out violence and build on peace and mutual respect.”
“The one word which strikes me from the current wave of knife and gun incidents is the word 'tragedy', “ said Father Christopher Tuckwell, administrator of Westminster Cathedral. “The tragedy of young lives cut short for virtually nothing, the tragedy of other young lives being confined in prison, and the tragedy of loss which affects both the family of the victim and the families of the assailants. To put this before God in prayer is a definite duty for us all.”
“This issue directly challenges us as Christians and citizens to not just walk by and ignore the problem,” said Pasture founder, journalist Nick Black. “Instead of just shouting and yelling about this issue, we want to pray for peace and help heal the streets in this way.”
The prayer vigil will be held in St Joseph’s Chapel and will centre on silent prayers and intentions for peace on the streets of London.
The Pasture initiative draws together a small group of ordinary Catholics who aim to make a difference and put their beliefs into practice.
Pasture was founded one evening by professional journalist Nick Black, who lives in south London.
The vigil is to take place at Westminster Cathedral on Friday 18th July, 2008 – 9am – 4.30 pm