Cardinal Blasé J. Cupich is calling parishioners, faith leaders of all denominations, school alumni, and community members to join him this Good Friday, April 14th for the Way of the Cross March beginning at 10:30 a.m. The March begins at 66th and Stewart and continues along a route to pray at the points of two homicides. The March will continue to St. Bernard Catholic Hospital and return to St. Benedict the African Parish, the Catholic Church in Englewood.
In a letter dated April 4, Pope Francis sent words of encouragement to Cardinal Cupich in support of local leaders’ efforts to promote nonviolence as a way of life and a path to peace in Chicago. The Cardinal referenced the Way of the Cross Walk here in Chicago, and said he would “accompany you in prayer, as well as those who walk with you and who have suffered violence in the city.”
According to Father David Jones, who sits on the Cardinal’s Council and spearheads The Black Catholic Initiative (BCI) based out of St. Benedict the African Parish, if there is a solution to violence in the city it requires that everyone work together to bring it to fruition. “The Cardinal is adamantand correct, none of us can do this work alone,” he says.
On March 25, BCI held a workshop to engage people in thinking differently about violence, and helping them understand that acts of violence itself areby-products of deeper issues within systems, communities, families and individuals. “We want to move the bar from just responding to violence because you are a victim,” says Father Jones. “Rather we want people to consider the stages that lead to violence,which begin early in a persons’ development.” Father Jones believes this all-encompassing approach involves looking at everything from parenting and the impact of corporeal punishment, to abuse of alcohol, drugs, and even food. Another workshop is slated for April 29 at St. Benedict the African Parish.
Those interested in more details on the walk may contact St. Benedict the African Parish at 773.873.4464 or SBAparish@aol.com
About the Black Catholic Initiative (BCI)
The Black Catholic Initiative (BCI) has as its focus the 66K African American Catholics served by 351 parishes, 38 of which are predominately African American. The BCI was created to prepare the church for the next generation of African American Catholics, charging them to be fully present and accountable. The goal of the BCI is to come together, and work together to give and serve the Church. The BCI is an ethnic ministry that actively participates and offers its work as a gift to the local church of Chicago. Those involved in the BCI will practice Umoja, Kujichagulia and Ujima, (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility) to first give honor to God, and to offer Catholicity with the whole church. The BCI will be one church, not many parishes. In this tried and true tradition, the BCI will plainly and clearly be Catholic.
About the Archdiocese of Chicago
The Archdiocese of Chicago, the third largest in the United States, serves more than 2.2 million Catholics in 351 parishes in Cook and Lake Counties, a geographic area of 1,411 square miles. The Archdiocese, pastored by Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, has more than 15,000 employees in its systems and ministries, including Catholic Charities, the region’s largest nonprofit social service agency. The Archdiocese also has one of the country’s largest seminaries. The Archdiocese’s 217 elementary and secondary schools comprise the largest U.S. private school system and have garnered more U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Awards than any system of any type.