The Night Ministry staff gathered today to remember and honor those who have died this year while living on the streets. Below are the remarks delivered by our staff on this solemn occasion.
Every year since 1990, on December 21, the longest night of the year, a National Homeless Persons' Memorial is held to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness and to remember our unhoused friends who have paid the ultimate price for our nation's failure to end homelessness.
This is also a day to remember all those who work to help and work to end homelessness. Thank you to all staff of The Night Ministry for your part in this this important work.
We gather today, to mourn those who have departed from us. We pray for all those who are unhoused and no longer share their presences with us, that they can now rest and have complete joy and peace. Today we aim to comfort one another as we say good-bye to family, friends, and neighbors. We are sad for this loss and together we dry our tears and look for hope.
Even in our sadness, we also give thanks. We give thanks for the blessings of those who are gone that we remember today. We give thanks for the good works that were done in them and through them. We also give thank for workers and volunteers, for every person who was a blessing to a person without a home, be they social workers, health care providers, police, politicians, clergy, cooks, or simply kind friends.
We gather to stand against poverty, illness, war and homelessness. We look forward to the day when homelessness is ended. We look forward to the day when all are healed and there are no poor among us.
Today we remember and honor those who have died while living on the streets or who have been unhoused and were connected with The Night Ministry's services. We lift them up in prayer. Bless us this day as we bring to light the precious memory of those who were homeless who now are in eternal rest.
We remember: James. Robert. Carlos. Brittany. And Rolena.
Our friends are no longer with us on earth, but their spirit lives within our memories. We know they are not forgotten. May their memory stir in us a greater compassion for those who are still experiencing homelessness. May their memory ignite within us a greater desire to confront the injustices that lead to homelessness.
We remember: Ron. Frank. Danny. And Juan.
Bless the memory of those we remember today. Bless us, too. May love take root in our hearts and guide us through the holidays and into the new year. Give us eyes of compassion as we look at each person.
We remember: Tiffany. Tommie. And Juan.
Thank you for spending part of your day with us for this important memorial. Tonight, will be the longest night of the year. As the night recedes and the days will get longer, may we share the light of hope with our neighbors, may we abide in divine peace, may we walk together in memory of those no longer with us, and may we embrace the comfort of the Spirit who is forever in our company and forever our refuge. Go in peace.