Four-day vigil for Camden’s murder victims

It was a very quiet morning Friday in the ornate chapel of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Camden.

A single votive candle burned on a small table in front of the altar. A long row of unlit candles stood waiting. Altogether there were 67 — one for every person killed in Camden this year.

The four-day ceremony dedicates an hour to each murder victim, says Lourdes Sherby, a social worker at Guadalupe Family Services, which does grief and trauma counseling.

In the 10 a.m. hour, Barry Ally was recalled. He was 19 and shot to death Feb. 23.

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“A 19-year-old, just starting out life,” observed Sherby.

The vigil continues through Monday.

Some families will visit. Sherby and representatives from other social service agencies will offer help to the grieving.

Sister Helen Cole held the first vigil in 1995. That year, there were 58 homicides and that stood as a record until now. With three days left in the year, 67 people have been killed in Camden this year, including young children.

Most died from gunshot wounds.

And, Sherby said, all will be missed.

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