In November 1999, our Benedictines For Peace committee began a Reclaim the Site for Nonviolence effort--offering on-site prayer services whenever and wherever a homicide occurs in Erie. This week the 28th Reclaim the Site prayer service was held for the victim of a house fire that was ruled an arson. These 5:15 p.m. prayer services have had such a widespread effect that frequently the victim's families respond when contacted, "Are you the sisters that do the prayers? Would you do one for our brother?"
Young adults, murdered as the result of an argument or dispute, often between people under the influence, are the most common victims, but not always. We have held sites in residential areas, too.
The one thing they all have in common is the sadness and sincerity of the attendees: family members, neighbors, and anonymous members of the Erie community that gather together to mourn such tragedies in our midst.
Let us pray for an end to all violence--especially in our own cities, between our own neighbors.