About 200 people who are homeless gathered at Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Petersburg, Fla., Dec. 22 to remember 49 others who had died in Pinellas County in 2013. Since 1990, the nation has observed National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day on or around Dec. 21, which coincides with the winter solstice, the longest night and darkest day of the year. Celebrate Outreach, a group of local congregations, hosts the service in which participants light candles and remember by name those who have died. The group also urges the community to find solutions to homelessness and honor those who have died and look at their deaths as “one less fellow human being, one less of ourselves,” one pastor said. This unidentified man, one of 49 volunteers who held candles in remembrance, wept, saying he knew four of the dead.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers