What does the local Catholic community do to reduce violence?

By Joyce Duriga
Sunday, May 15, 2016

Since his installation in November 2014, Archbishop Cupich has frequently spoken out against the rising tide of violence in the city of Chicago. He has also shown his support for parish and other initiatives aimed at reducing violence and strengthening families.

Because of how large the archdiocese is and how many agencies, parishes and groups that have ongoing efforts in this area — such as after-school programs and food banks — it is not easy to assess the extent of the Catholic response to reducing violence.

“We took a look at it and realized there are so many things people are doing that we don’t know all of it,” said Father Clete Kiley, special adviser to the archbishop.

In an effort to understand the scope of what is being done, the Archdiocese of Chicago will collaborate with DePaul and Loyola universities to study the situation. That collaboration will begin with a meeting of Archbishop Cupich and university leaders on June 9 at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, 1140 W. Jackson Boulevard.

“Before the archbishop would get into a broader conversation about solutions, he’d like to be able to say ‘Here’s what the Catholic community is already doing,’” Kiley said.

With this information the archdiocese as a whole can determine what is effective, what isn’t, where any gaps in service exist, how the church can better coordinate its efforts and how it might collaborate with other groups like law enforcement or local governments.

At the June 9 meeting leaders will determine how the research will be conducted and will form a committee to lead the effort.

The Catholic Church can play a pivotal role in reducing violence in the neighborhoods and strengthening family life, Kiley said.

“We’re in every neighborhood. Not every organization is,” he said. “We have a particular view on the ground and are probably already doing things. We just don’t know everything that every parish might be doing.”

To move things forward in the interim, Archbishop Cupich sent a letter to pastors of parishes within city of Chicago boundaries and asked them to participate in the One Summer Chicago program. This program is subsidized by the city and provides summer employment to young people.

“When I learned of this program earlier in the spring, I encouraged Mayor Rahm Emanuel to look to our city parishes and institutions as potential sites for this temporary employment. While the city can provide the salaries, unless an agency wishes to do so on its own, it also needs sites to provide our young people with meaningful work experiences. That is where we come in,” he wrote on April 29.

One Summer Chicago runs from June 27 through Aug. 12. It is open to all city of residents between the ages of 14 and 24. They will be paid $8.25 per hour.

“As we anticipate the beginning of summer, we recognize the challenges faced by many youth of our city,” Archbishop Cupich wrote. “We as a church, along with city leaders, stand in solidarity with our young people, especially as they look for summer employment and safe and productive ways to spend the summer months.”


  • cardinal cupich
  • gun violence
  • peace
  • mercy home for boys and girls
  • depaul university
  • non-violence
  • one summer chicago program

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