(CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)
Deacon William Pouncy encourages drivers in passing cars to “Honk for Jesus” outside St. Martin de Porres Church in Chicago May 1.
Archbishop joins Chicago parish to promote neighborhood peace
May 10th, 2016
By Joyce Duriga
CHICAGO – The city of Chicago’s Austin neighborhood leads a noteworthy list, but one its residents would rather not be on.
“As of April 25, the Austin community – our community, our immediate community – led Chicago in 23 homicides and 101 people being shot. This is insane. This is wrong,” Father Tom Walsh, pastor of St. Martin de Porres Parish told those gathered for Mass May 1 celebrated by Archbishop Blase J. Cupich.
As of May 2, 1,135 people had been shot in Chicago during 2016, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“The truth of the matter is, a person is shot in Chicago every two and a half hours. Unfortunately, if the odds work, it could have happened while we were here this morning,” the priest said.
The parish is located about nine miles west of downtown Chicago.
Four of the top five communities that have seen the most violence this year are within walking distance of the West Side church, Father Walsh said.
“That’s why we as a church – this is the tallest building in this entire community, if not one of the tallest church buildings in the city of Chicago – need to continue to be a beacon of hope and of light to our world,” Father Walsh told the congregation at the end of Mass.
Immediately following Mass, the congregation poured out onto the street in front of the church and held up signs to passing drivers that said “Honk for Jesus,” “Prayer changes things,” and “Unity in the community.”
Archbishop Cupich said he recently sent a letter to pastors of city parishes encouraging them to participate in the city’s One Summer Chicago youth employment program. Through the program parishes and churches could offer summer employment to teens and have it subsidized by the city.
“Part of the issue, in addition to guns being available, is the hopelessness in the hearts of our youth,” the archbishop said. “We have to do something to give them hope and to give them opportunities.”
From May 12, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.