On November 30, events to recognize International Day of Cities for Life / Cities Against the Death Penalty will be held at various locations in Florida. This annual, worldwide effort has been spearheaded by the lay Catholic community of Sant’Egidio since 2002. More than 2,000 cities across the globe have declared themselves “Cities for Life” and are committed to the abolition of the death penalty and a more civil form of justice.
Across Florida, all are welcomed to specific activities, varied by location, that include special Masses, interfaith prayer vigils, church lightings, music, choirs, and a variety of presentations on the death penalty. Speakers include death penalty abolition advocates, family members of murder victims, prison ministers, death row exonerees, and clergy. In solidarity with this international movement, various activities are taking place in dioceses across Florida. All events are scheduled for November 30, unless indicated otherwise:
Jacksonville: Diocese of St. Augustine
An event will be held at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Jacksonville at 6:30 pm. Speakers will be Dale Recinella, Catholic correctional chaplain for Florida’s death row inmates and author; Ingrid Delgado, FCCB associate director for social concerns/respect life; and Deacon Andy and Kate Grosmaire, authors of “Forgiving My Daughter’s Killer” and advocates for restorative justice. Additionally, churches are asked to ring their bells at 7:30 pm.
Inverness: Diocese of St. Petersburg
A Cities for Life Vigil event will take place at noon on the south lawn of the Historic Court House in Inverness. Hear from Exonerated Death Row Survivor, Derrick Jamison, and join others in prayer and song. In addition, congregations are invited to toll their bells at 6:00 pm and leave the lights on in the Church overnight. Parishes are also invited to pray for an end of the use of the death penalty at weekend Masses.
Daytona Beach: Diocese of Orlando.
Our Lady of Lourdes in Daytona Beach will hold an event at 6:00 pm in the grotto. Keynote speaker will be Juanita Perez, mother and grandmother of murder victims and advocate for alternatives to the death penalty. Mark Elliott, director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, will bring a special guest and the Vigil Bell that tolls at each execution vigil at the prison.
Winter Park: Margaret Mary in Winter Park will have a Cities for Life candlelight procession from the church courtyard to the front of the church and a prayer vigil at 6:00 pm. Please note this took place on November 22.
Tallahassee: Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee: St. Louis Catholic Church in Tallahassee is hosting an event from 7:30 – 9:00 pm. Speakers include Fr. Dustin Feddon, executive director of Joseph House and member of the Catholic Prison Ministry Coalition, and Elke Long, member of Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty.
Diocese of Palm Beach
Parishes have been asked to read an announcement during Masses and are invited to ring church bells at 5:00 pm.
Diocese of Venice
Parishes are asked to consider tolling church bells at 6:00 pm.
Archdiocese of Miami: the following prayer in the general intercession during the mass on Saturday, November 30.
“On the anniversary of the first abolition of the death penalty on the part of a State, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany on November 30, 1786. We pray with more than 2000 cities around the world that all governments may commit themselves to respect every human life and to end the use of the death penalty.” We pray to the Lord.
Deacon Edgardo Farias
9301 Biscayne Blvd, Miami Shores, FL 33138
Deacon Tony Perez
3220 NW 7th Ave, Miami, FL 33127
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church
11691 NW 25th St, Doral, FL 33172
St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church William Mejias
2501 S Post Rd, Weston, FL 33327
St. Bonaventure Catholic Church
1301 SW 136th Ave, Davie, FL 33325
St. Andrew Catholic Church
9950 NW 29th St, Coral Springs, FL 33065
San Isidro (Pompano Beach)
2310 Hammondville Rd, Pompano Beach, FL 33069
Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea
1010 Windsor Ln, Key West, FL 33040
Deacon Edgardo Farias
100 Harbor Drive, Key Biscayne, Florida 33149