Chicago, IL. (Tue. May 16, 2017) – Moved by the violence plaguing the streets of Chicago, Tommy Burke and Jessica Santiago set for a 1,000 mile walk as a spiritual pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) this summer. Cardinal Blase Cupich’s Good Friday Walk for Peace in Chicago and his call to the faithful to work for peace in our city, inspired the young Catholic couple from Saint Andrew’s Parish to put their faith into action.
Besides discerning for the sacrament of marriage, this young couple is making the theme of ‘Peace in Chicago’ a special cause in their long walk through the strenuous trails of northern Spain. “Our prayerful intentions are for peace in Chicago, for the innocent victims of violence, and those at risk” shared Tommy.
For the past five months, Tommy and Jessica have volunteered with the Parish Peace Project (PPP), a non-for-profit with a peace-building initiative supported by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago through a small grant from its Catholic Campaign for Human Development. This ministry seeks to offer an alternative to violence by engaging and developing young-adult leaders in the Church and communities with the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.
Showing his support for these pilgrims and their intentions, Father Gary Graf has sent forth the young couple with a special mass at Saint Procopius Catholic Church in the Pilsen community. Tommy and Jessica are looking to use their pilgrimage walk as a means to motivate people of good will to walk with them through prayer and generous donations. People can invest in the unifying efforts of the starting at 10 cents per mile walked or a flat amount contribution.
For the last two years, our ministry has brought young adults together to develop as leaders and peacemakers. We are creating safe spaces in our parishes for learning, recreation and reflection where young adults grow in faith, celebrate art and build relationships with one another.
As a systematic approach to violence in Chicago, PPP is developing an Apostolate Program to engage, cultivate, and nurture young adult leaders in Catholic Parishes in Chicago. This two-year long young adult residential lay formation, academic and apprenticeship program. The three pillars of the Apostolate Program are “Live, Learn, Work”:
LIVE- Housing for those participating in the Apostolate program at Providence of God’s former rectory and convent in the Pilsen community. Here they will live in an intentional community while undergoing faith formation.
LEARN- Through a partnership with the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University, participants of the Lay Apostolate will have ministry training and study scripture, theology, and community organizing. Participants will be awarded a ministerial certificate and academic credits which can be applied toward a Master’s Degree or formational studies for religious life should they choose to pursue it.
WORK – Lay Apostles will be assigned to a disadvantaged parish in the Southwest Side where they will develop a team of young adult leaders. The goal of this initiative is to create opportunities centered in parish life that speak to the urban experience of young adults and at risk youth, while adhering to Catholic teaching.
Contributions can be made through the organization’s website www.parishpeaceproject
Contributions are tax-deductible and all proceeds will go to support the Parish Peace Project’s mission.