Homeless Memorial, Dec. 18: Remember their names – gathering to memorialize homeless Chicagoans who died in 2018

Tuesday, December 18 | 6:30 p.m.

Old St. Pat’s Catholic Church | 700 W. Adams

Raymond Ferguson, 55, died June 18. Homeless, he would sleep on the Blue Line, near the federal buildings downtown, and occasionally a friend’s home.

Most of Raymond’s days were spent at the corner of State and Randolph, where he became a beloved figure. After he died, people left flowers at a makeshift memorial.

“When you passed that corner, you were entering Raymond’s world… and the atmosphere of that world consisted of kindness, love, positivity and selflessness,” one man told Block Club Chicago.

Raymond Ferguson is among dozens of Chicagoans who died this year while coping with homelessness.

Harmony, Hope & Healing sings at the 2016 memorial service.

WHAT

An interfaith candlelight vigil will be held in the sanctuary of Old St. Patrick’s Church.

The 750-seat church fills for this hour-long event, held since 2010 to remember homeless people who died in Chicago. Homeless people attending the service are hosted at a dinner prior to the event.

WHY

Based on most recent census data, 80,384 Chicagoans experienced homelessness in 2016, per an analysis by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Eighty percent lived doubled-up in the homes of others, often in overcrowded conditions. Our city’s homeless included 35,435 children and adults living in families.

Nationally, over the course of a year, 2.5 million  to 3.5 million people experience homelessness.

WHO

This service is affiliated with National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, one of many events organized by the National Coalition for the Homeless. Chicago’s service is supported by:

  • Ignatian Spirituality Project works to end homelessness by providing Ignatian retreats to men and women who are homeless and in recovery.
  • Chicago Coalition for the Homeless organizes and advocates to prevent and end homelessness, based on the belief that housing is a human right in a just society.
  • Harmony, Hope & Healing’s creative, therapeutic and educational music programs offer emotional and spiritual support to homeless and underserved women, men and children in the Chicago area.
  • Old St. Patrick’s Church extends hospitality to all that find the church on their path, and to serve the life and work of the laity in the world.
  • Franciscan Outreach provides comprehensive services to those who are homeless, including healthy meals, warm beds, and case management services to 8,000 individuals annually.

For more information from CCH, contact Director of Organizing Wayne Richard