Offices and Ministries

Violence Prevention Initiatives

“The thing the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds. ... And you have to start from the ground up.” – Pope Francis Nonviolence can heal Chicago.

The Violence Prevention Initiative is guided by Pope Francis’ call to be the field hospital – proximate to those trapped and suffering from the wounds and trauma of all forms of violence. We are faith inspired, data driven and collaborative – knowing that it is through relationships and direct engagement that we are most effective. We:

  1. Inspire and coordinate the Catholic community’s collaborative response to violence in all its forms, including but not limited to root causes like racism, domestic violence, gun violence and economic injustice.

  2. Build safe and peaceful communities using a comprehensive safety model for parishes, schools, and communities, which incorporates:

    • Crisis planning and training,

    • Social, emotional and trauma informed practices with path to services,

    • Education training and practice in nonviolence, restorative justice and conflict resolution,

    • Committed to safe spaces and time for community dialogue and

    • Evidence-based information on safety and prevention.

  3. Support peaceful pathways by partnering with and supporting existing, effective violence prevention programs that address acute and root causes of violence.

  4. Provide leadership guidance and subject matter expertise to establish an effective inter-religious violence prevention coalition to advocacy and awareness around:

    • Policing and firearm policy reform,

    • Coordination and investment in violence prevention programs,

    • Economic development in disinvested communities and

    • Trauma informed practice, counseling and mental health and social services.