Pope Francis responds to violence in Chicago

Cardinal Blase Cupich. Photo courtesy of CNS/Karen Callaway, Chicago Catholic

In a letter to Chicago Archbishop, Cardinal Blase Cupich, Pope Francis told him to “…convey to the people of Chicago that they have been on my mind and in my prayers.

I know that many families have lost loved ones to violence. I am close to them, I share in their grief, and pray that they may experience healing and reconciliation through God’s grace.”

The cardinal read the letter during a news conference on April 4, the 49th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to announce the archdiocese’s plans stem the tide of violence in some neighborhoods of the city.

Armed with $250,000 in seed money from archdiocesan charitable discretionary funds, the cardinal announced the creation of a new foundation to fund anti-violence programs throughout Chicago including a revitalized youth program, implementing “a robust anti-racism component” to religious education classes, the construction of a new job training center and the launch of a program for youth from around the city to dialogue about ways to combat violence in the city.

The news conference was held inside the gymnasium of the Catholic Charities-funded Peace Corner Youth Center, where Cardinal Cupich also announced that he will lead an interfaith march for peace on Good Friday through the city’s violence-plagued Englewood neighborhood.

“We want to inspire people to work together, giving them hope that we can do something even if we cannot do everything,” the cardinal said.

For the Religion News Service (April 4, 2017) report, religionnews.com/2017/04/04/chicago-cardinal-cupich-unveils-church-led-anti-violence-initiative/#.

For the pope’s letter, click here

For the America magazine (April 4, 2017) report, click here.

For a video of Cardinal Cupich’s news conference, [44mins.], click here.