Forty-three people who died homeless on the streets of Fresno were remembered during a memorial service Friday outside the Poverello House homeless shelter. All died during 2017 except for one who passed away the previous year.
The names of the deceased were read during a ceremony that included prayers and remarks from Roman Catholic, Muslim, Greek Orthodox, Sikh, Buddhist, Jewish, and Baptist leaders in Fresno.
“If our scriptures command caring for the forgotten, then why are there so many that we forget?” asked Reza Nekumanesh, director of the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno.
A number of groups helped with the second annual homeless memorial service, including the Social Justice Ministry of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, the Bishops’ Homeless Advocacy Committee, Fresno County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office, Fresno Madera Continuum of Care, the Poverello House, and VA Central California Health Care System.
“Bless, God, our community,” prayed the Rev. Booker T. Lewis III of Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church. “Let us become even more so a community of compassion, a community of love, and a community, God, that cares for our neighbor.”