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Ecumenical prayer service for justice and human dignity set for Jan. 23 at St. Catherine of Siena

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St. Catherine of Siena Church in Wilmington.

St. Catherine of Siena Church near Prices Corner will host a Christian Unity Service on Jan. 23 with leaders from three area churches. Now in its fourth year, the service will celebrate Christian Unity Week and address issues of justice and human dignity arising from the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday the week prior.

Along with St. Catherine of Siena, the other churches that will be involved are Simpson United Methodist Church, whose pastor is the Rev. Pear Scott Johnson, and St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, where the Rev. David Beresford is pastor.

Father John Hynes, pastor of St. Catherine’s, and the other pastors have invited other churches within the Red Clay Consolidated School District to attend. The service begins at 7 p.m.

Father John M. Hynes
Father John M. Hynes

“We ask you to take part and to invite your congregation because our public schools, charter and vocational included, contain most of the adults who will make up our society for 50 years to come,” they wrote. “Public school educators welcome our interest and prayer support because they know that faith and religious practice in the home is the biggest single help to the wholeness of their students. Only the church and the family can speak to children of God’s love and moral choices based on faith.”

The focus of the service will be criminal justice reform. According to the pastors’ letter, a key factor in children’s wholeness is the presence of their father, and they are convinced that sentencing reform “will bring a significant improvement in men’s presence to their children.” Those issues, however, will be addressed at a later date.

“We’re not going to focus on any one part at the service. It will be primarily a religious service,” Father Hynes said.

Public forums will be held once a month over the following three months to get into more specifics. They are scheduled for Feb. 20, March 19 and April 23. Each will run from 7-8:30 p.m. with a speaker and a discussion on a particular aspect of criminal justice reform. All are free and open to the public.

St. Catherine of Siena Church is located at 2503 Centerville Road, Wilmington. For more information, call the parish at (302) 633-4900.