Old St. Pat’s says ‘enough is enough’ to city violence

By Michelle Martin
Sunday, February 7, 2016

Old St. Pat’s says ‘enough is enough’ to city violence

Prayers take place before the testimonies of five speakers from various ethnic and religious backgrounds during the Inter-Religious Cry of Lament at Old St. Patrick's Church on Jan. 28. The service was held in response to violence and injustice. (Julie Jaidinger/Catholic New World)
Brian Ahern places a prayer in the prayer wall as part of the service. (Julie Jaidinger/Catholic New World)
Karen Hynes holds a candle while standing on the steps of the church at the end of the service. (Julie Jaidinger/Catholic New World)
"Enough is Enough: No more violence!" is shouted on the steps of Old St. Patrick's at the end of the service on Jan. 28. (Julie Jaidinger/Catholic New World)
People gather in prayer at the end of the service. (Julie Jaidinger/Catholic New World)

More than 100 people of various faiths and backgrounds gathered at Old St. Patrick’s Church on Jan. 28 to say “Enough is enough! No more violence!”

That was the chant that punctuated a prayer service called an in interreligious “cry of lament” for the violence besetting Chicago and the world.

“We just wanted to host a space where individuals and groups of people could lament and give voice to their suffering and how violence is affecting us in so many ways,” said Rachel Lyons, who helped organize the service.

“We wanted to have that space for lament and find those interconnections across cultures and religions,” said Keara Ette, who also helped organize the service.

For Lyons, it was one of the most powerful experiences she has had in eight years at Old St. Pat’s.

“It was a beautiful call for peace from a God of love,” she said. “It wasn’t meant to solve the world’s problems or do a social analysis.”

Rather, the prayer service was a response to growing anger toward the gun violence, racism, bigotry, religious intolerance, domestic abuse and human trafficking that are so prevalent that people are simply becoming numb to the atrocities happening around them, organizers said.

By coming together in prayer, they wanted to support the victims of violence and offer up the light of hope in the midst of darkness.

Old St. Pat’s staff reached out through the North Lawndale Kinship Initiative and other outreach ministries to bring people together. With only a few weeks of planning time, some people who wanted to come weren’t able to make it, but those who did were able to share their experiences.

The service included witness statements from Rabbi Michael Davis from Jewish Voices for Peace; Tahera Ahmad, a Muslim chaplain at Northwestern University; as well as Christians from different denominations.

After the witness statements, all those present were invited to write their own laments on slips of paper and to tuck them into a wall built of bricks and stone.

“We wanted a way for people to leave their laments, but for them still to be present,” Lyons said. “If you look at the wall, it’s dirty and messy.”

At the end, each of the participants carried a candle out into the night, to share their light with the world while they continued to call for an end to violence.


  • gun violence
  • peace
  • interfaith
  • old st. patrick’s parish
  • non-violence
  • old st. pats
  • interreligious cry of lament

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