CROWN WORKERS LOCKED-OUT FOR TWO YEARS, COMMEMORATE THE ANNIVERSARY WITH CANDLELIGHT VIGIL & PRAYER

On Thursday, February 5, 1998 I was privileged to attend the prayer vigil held by the Crown Workers. It was my first time to attend this type of gathering by workers. As a Catholic, I have been a part of many candlelight vigils and prayer services , but this was different in that it was held by a group of workers, who did not initially know each other in a spiritual context. Yet I was impressed by the spirituality of those present. These people are living a true faith life. To be out of work for so long, with little support for what one is standing for, must be frightening. I can not imagine what some of the men and women present must be going through. Do they have families who support them, or do their families think they are poor providers? And what about their spouses and children who do support them. Do they sometimes struggle inside wondering if they are doing right by supporting them, or wondering if they are simply allowing them to dwell on what may never be? I thought about how I might face this situation as I stood in the crowd, and I watched and listened. These are people of faith who are going through a great trial, which has only strengthened their faith. Maybe some of them had no idea just how much faith they had until they were locked-out. There is never any justice in workers being locked-out, but as God has a way of doing, there is growth and goodness even in times of injustice.

The Following is a Copy of the Prayer Service:

Open - A brief history of the lock-out

- explanation and history of song, Kum Ba Ya

SONG: Kum Ba Ya

1.Kum Ba Ya My Lord, Kum Ba Ya, Kum Ba Ya My Lord, Kum Ba Ya, Kum Ba Ya My Lord, Kum Ba Ya O Lord, Kum Ba Ya.

2.Someone's crying Lord, Kum Ba Ya (repeat 3 times) O Lord, Kum Ba Ya

3.Someone's hungry Lord, Kum Ba Ya (repeat 3 times) O Lord, Kum Ba Ya

4.Someone's jobless Lord, Kum Ba Ya (repeat 3 times) O Lord, Kum Ba Ya

5.Someone's hurting Lord, Kum Ba Ya (repeat 3 times) O Lord, Kum Ba Ya

6.Someone's homeless Lord, Kum Ba Ya (repeat 3 times) O Lord, Kum Ba Ya

7.Someone's greedy Lord, Kum Ba Ya (repeat 3 times) O Lord, Kum Ba Ya

Leader: O God, we count on your presence now as we commemorate 2 years of the unjust Lock-out at Crown. Be with us as we stand for justice and support our sisters and brothers.

All: O God, please help us to remember, an injury to one is an injury to all.

Leader: O God, we are here today to remember all workers who have been exploited as a result of our faulty economic system and the imbalance of power between the working class and the ruling class.

All: O God, please help us to remember that there is strength in unity, and together we have power to change things.

Leader: O God, help us to remember the workers in other countries, for they suffer greater injustice than we know.

All: O God, please help us to remember that we will never achieve justice for ourselves without achieving justice for all the workers of the world.

Leader: O God, you have created all human persons in Your image and likeness. You gave each one of us dignity and worth. You love us, care for us, and only want the best for us even in the places where we work.

All: O God, please help us to respect the dignity and worth of others, no matter their skin color, gender, or their job title.

Leader: We know that You are present with us here in a special way as we remember those who suffer due to this unfair economic system.... Through this time of remembering, spur us on to engage in actions to bring about justice for all the workers of the world.

All: Amen.

Leader: At this time we want to hear from those who are suffering at the hands of Crown and their unjust lock-out. We want to hear from those who's lives have been disrupted by the greed and lack of concern for the health and safety of the workers and the community.

At this time, personal testimony of suffering can be given.

Prayer...

Leader: We Pray for the workers who toil for a substandard wage.

All: O God, hear our prayer.

Leader: We pray for the workers who work in unsafe conditions.

All: O God, hear our prayer.

Leader: We pray for the workers who have been injured or died on the job.

All: O God, hear our prayer.

Leader: We pray for all workers who labor in the sweat shops.

All: O God, hear our prayer.

Leader: We pray for the families of the workers.

All: O God, hear our prayer.

Leader: We pray that timid and discouraged workers will find the strength and the courage to take a stand.

All: O God, hear our prayer.

Leader: Thank you, O God, for this opportunity to remember all of the workers who are suffering. Help us to become true advocates of a fair and just economic system. Make us an instrument for bringing about justice and a renewal of a community in the workplace and in society. Help us to be a renewing force, not one that just accepts things the way they are. We ask Your help and Your guidance in all that we do.

All: Amen.

SONG: We Shall Overcome

1. We shall overcome. We shall overcome. We shall overcome some day.

CHORUS: Oh, deep in my heart I do believe we shall overcome some day.

2. We are not afraid. We are not afraid. We are not afraid today.

3. We are not alone. We are not alone. We are not alone today.

4. The truth will make us free. The truth will make us free. The truth will make us free some day.

5. We'll walk hand in hand. We'll walk hand in hand. We'll walk hand in hand some day.

6. The Lord will see us through. The Lord will see us through. The Lord will see us through some day.

7. Black and white together. Black and white together. Black and white together now.

8. We shall all be free. We shall all be free. We shall all be free some day.

Leader: O God, as we leave this place help us to not forget that united we can overcome. Grant us the strength to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Give us the courage to continue in the struggle for economic justice in this community and throughout the world.

All: With Your help, O God, we will. Thanks be to God!