Belmont Cragin parishes unite to demand peace and justice – Chicagoland

On the scorching afternoon of August 28, with temperatures in the 90s and high humidity, more than 80 parishioners of Saint John Bosco, Saint James the Apostle and Saints. The parishes of Genevieve and Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr passed through the neighborhood of Belmont Cragin, stopping to pray at places where people were killed by gun violence.

The Peace March, which was staged in just under two weeks after the violence increased in the neighborhood, began at St. John Bosco Church, 2250 N. McVicker Ave., and ended completed at St. Genevieve Church, 4835 W. Altgeld St. Participants also stopped to pray in front of St. James and St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr churches.

During the march, participants recited the Rosary, carried signs in English and Spanish with messages of peace and chanted: “We want justice. We want peace. We want justice on our streets. At each stop, participants remembered a person killed by violence and prayed a dozen rosary for them and an intention related to how they died.

At St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church, 5352 W. Belden Ave., attendees remembered Chicago Police Officer Ella French and Illinois National Guard Chrystopher Carvajal, 19, who was shot dead on July 3 in the neighborhood. He had just completed his basic training and was home awaiting an assignment.

Carvajal’s family attended the peace march and wore white T-shirts with a picture of him in his uniform. They also wore buttons in his image.

Brittney Carvajal said it meant a lot to her family that organizers remember her brother during the march.

“It means so much since the community has helped us to try to obtain justice for my brother. It just brings us peace, ”she said. “Being here and doing this stuff helps us. “

Carvajal said her family is “really religious” and regularly attends mass together. Chrystopher Carvajal was also present with his family and served as a choir in their home parish, St. Mark’s. He also shared his faith with others during his basic training.

The idea of ​​the march for peace was born with Father Sergio Riva, pastor of Sts. Genevieve and Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr, and volunteer Melissa McGlynn.

Riva said the purpose of the day was to pray for peace and to have the strength to work for peace and justice in the community.

“The other thing was just to shed light on the two issues of violence,” which are injustice and declining values, he said. “Sometimes there are gangs that are three generations old. Grandparents, parents and children, so they learn all of these things at home. They don’t learn to respect life. They learn that God is money or power.

The parish will continue to promote peace, Riva said, as violence strikes near her home.

“The last two shootings took place just two blocks from here. And then two months ago, we had Chrys Carvajal who was killed, ”he said.

The violence even affected the number of people who attended the march.

“It was really hot today, so many people didn’t show up because of it, but there were many more who said, ‘We’re scared. “They live in a block with gang members and they don’t want to be seen when walking,” Riva said.

McGlynn manages the parish pantry and has long volunteered in catechesis and youth ministry in the parish. Over the years, young people have shared that they felt abandoned by their schools and abandoned by their families and communities and that people did not hear them, she said.

“I think it translates into violence and market seeking in harmful and harmful ways like gangs,” McGlynn said.

Responding to recent violence by taking to the streets to promote a message of peace and justice is a natural Catholic response, she said.

“To be Catholic for me is really to take Jesus out of the church and onto the streets because that’s where Jesus did his best job,” she said. “I just think being present, being visible, literally walking up and down [Fullerton Avenue] busiest street in our neighborhood and in our zip code, I think it was the most powerful way to bring Jesus and the message of non-violence to the community.

Riva compared the violence to a tumor.

“It doesn’t matter if your brain has a tumor or your lung has a tumor, your whole body is sick. You are in trouble, ”he said. “This is what is happening in the city. The tumor may be there, but the people who live along the lake are affected, the people who live on the north side are going to be affected by the violence here.

About Michael C. Lovelace

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