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St. John’s walks to help homeless

The annual Walk for the Homeless took to the streets and walkways of the St. John’s University campus Friday morning, bringing with it the spirit of giving and helping to which the student participants dedicated their time by taking part in the event.

Designed to raise awareness of the scourge of homelessness in New York City, the walk drew more than 300 youths who joined together in prayer and collective hope.

“This event is in its 30th year, and it has grown throughout the years,” Campus Minister Angela Seegel said. “Students, faculty, alumni and administrators have made this St. John’s tradition a part of their Good Friday experience.”

The 5-kilometer walk, sponsored by the school’s Campus Ministry Department and the St. Vincent DePaul Society, is hosted in solidarity with the poor and in conjunction with several other community service initiatives during which students participate during the 40 days of Lent, including opportunities to work at a range of locations, like soup kitchens and nursing homes.

“St. John’s has been committed to using service to others as a necessary and vital part of a St. John’s student’s education,” Seegel said. “By participating, our students are called to recognize their responsibility to others, as one community.”

Kicking off with a prayer service in the St. Thomas More Church, walkers then proceeded off-campus to Union Turnpike. Led by a cross-bearer, the group then headed to American Martyrs Church on Bell Boulevard for a prayer of reflection.

The walk is meant as a symbolic representation of Jesus Christ’s exhortations in the Bible to walk with him and a means to spend the holiday considering the sacrifices Christians believe he made for them by dying on the cross.

“On this day, we hope to demonstrate our willingness to share in Christ’s suffering as we walk in unity for all who suffer in our world, most especially the poor of our city,” the walk’s Web site read.

The throng of students circled back onto campus via 73rd Street and Utopia Parkway and were greeted with a lunch of soup and bread.

School representatives did not yet have data Tuesday about how much money the procession raised.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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