More than 100 crosses – one for each homicide victim in the city of Oakland in 2020 – bear witness from the lawn outside St. Columba Church in Oakland.

That’s up from 78 in 2019.

“First year to change direction in my 12 years” at St. Columba Parish, said Rev. Aidan McAleenan, pastor who will preside at the annual rite.

Those crosses  will be removed from the lawn by the end of the year.

The crosses will be brought into St. Columba Church, where each name will be said aloud  and victims remembered, during a ceremony at 3 p.m. Dec. 31 that will be on Zoom.

In following Covid-19 restrictions, and out of concern for the well-being of the community,  there will be no public participation in the cross removal or church ceremony.

In years past, as parishioners, friends and families gathered in front of the church, the cross bearing the name of one lost to homicide would be passed into the outstretched arms  of a loved one.

Parishioner Rich Laufenberg assembles those crosses. He has made more crosses this year.  “It’s an honor,” he said, to make those crosses in his home workshop. It’s a honor, too, when possible, to place a cross in the arms of a loved one.

Join the ceremony on  Zoom. Meeting ID is 339316556. Password is 1898.

The above comes from a December story in the Oakland Catholic Voice.