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Five Simultaneous Back to School Sunrise Prayer Services to be Conducted at Chicago Lakefront on Saturday, August 21 All Catholic Parishes in Archdiocese to Ring Church Bells at 8 a.m.

In response to the dramatic escalation of violence, the Black Catholic Deacons in the Archdiocese of Chicago are inviting all to attend a Back to School Sunrise Prayer Service on Saturday, August 21, at 6:30 a.m. to pray for an end to violence, to protect our children, as well as to pray for a successful and non-violent school year. At 8 a.m., all participants at five Chicago Lakefront beaches will simultaneously pray for all police officers and their safety, while Catholic church bells throughout Cook and Lake counties will be rung to show support and solidarity with efforts to end violence.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control, homicide is the number one cause of death for African Americans and the second leading cause of death among Hispanics between the ages of 10 and 24 years old,” remarked Deacon LeRoy T. Gill, Jr., Co-Chairman of Black Catholic Deacons of Chicago. “These facts should disturb our souls and cause us to act in bold, unprecedented ways. That is why we are asking everyone to share in the responsibility to address and reverse this trend of violence, take an active role in your families, schools, workplace, your house of worship.”

Each interfaith and racially diverse Prayer Service will be held simultaneously on five different Chicago beaches:

  • Rainbow Beach, 2873 East 75th Street, (75th at Lake Michigan), Preaching Peace Sunrise Mass
  • 63rd Street / Jackson Park Beach, 6300 South Lake Shore Drive, (East Hayes Drive at Lake Michigan), Sunrise Praise and Mass
  • Oakwood / 41st Street Beach, 4100 South Lake Shore Drive, (41st Street at Lake Michigan), Praise and Worship Service
  • 31st Street Beach, 3100 South Lake Shore Drive, (31st Street at Lake Michigan), Spanish Language Service, Misa en Español y Reflexión
  • 12th Street Beach, 1200 South Lynn White Drive (12th Street at Lake Michigan), Sunrise Praise and Mass.

At the conclusion of each service, participants will be asked to make a pledge to live non-violently and to work for nonviolence. Materials will also be distributed about how to promote nonviolence at home, in school and in the streets. Participants are asked to bring their own chairs or blankets.

Back to School Sunrise Prayer Services are being organized, planned and sponsored by the Black Catholic Deacons of the Archdiocese of Chicago, assisted by the Office for Black Catholics and Catholics for Nonviolence, as well as priests, religious and laity of the Archdiocese.

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