Church Responds to Crisis of Urban Violence in Chicago |TODAY|

Submitted by dan. on 2007-08-31 01:46.
Community ActionOffender SupportVictim Support
Providing support and comfort through the rituals of funerals and wakes is one of the ways in which the church is obligated to respond to violence, according to Bishop Garcia-Siller and several priests who serve in communities where such violence has happened all too often.

But the obligation of the church goes much further, said the bishop and others interviewed by the Catholic New World, Chicago's archdiocesan newspaper. The church must walk with the victims through their mourning and grief and healing, and it must also work with the wrongdoers, to heal them and help them find the right path.

Precious Blood Father David Kelly lives and works in a house in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, offering a ministry of reconciliation.

Helping people find new life in the wake of violence is "directly tied to the central beliefs of Christians," Father Kelly said. "It's the power of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. There's hope in the midst of this."

In practice, that means reaching out to victims of violence and their family members, listening to them and helping them join into "peacemaking circles" where they can share their feelings, and, they hope, move beyond the grief to a new place.

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