Albuquerque church honors lives lost to COVID-19

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Nearly one million Americans, including 7,000 New Mexicans, lost their lives to COVID-19 in the past two years.

The Albuquerque community will gather to remember and honor them Friday evening from 6 to 9 p.m. The Shrine of the Little Flower on 4th Street is inviting all who want to participate, to light a candle and sit in reverence.

"People of all walks of life, all faiths, all ways of life, are invited just to come into our beautiful home here,” said Father Vincent Paul Chávez. "There’s no program, there are no speeches, they walk through the space, there’s live instrumental music that will be played here."

A thousand luminarias and hundreds more candles will line the aisles – their light reflecting off the marble floors and walls of the church.

"The appearance will be doubled with the high-polished materials that the building is constructed in," Father Chávez said.

St. Therese Catholic Parish is also decorated in yellow and blue, to pay homage the war in Ukraine.

"People will see the Ukrainian colors here in our shrine,” Father Chávez said. “We have an icon here that is a gift to the parish."

The icon, covered in silver and gold, was brought to the United States by a woman who left Kyiv in 1915, shortly before the Russian Revolution.

"We will commemorate Ukraine and the Ukrainians and their courage and their nobility,” Father Chávez said.

The event will start with a 30-minute bell toll, for those who need a moment of peace during these difficult times.

"Fill this holy place with prayers to the heavens, to the creator, to that force of life that is within each and every one of us,” Father Chávez said.