The following comes from a November 1 Christian Today article by Andre Mitchell:
A Roman Catholic priest has been going around the city of San Francisco, California for the past four years to pray for those killed in the streets.
Rev. Michael Quinn from the Archdiocese of San Francisco has made it his mission to say prayers and sprinkle holy water on city streets that have become sites of homicide.
He and his two companions in the mission—Julio Escobar and Alma Zamora—go around the city every week to pray for homicide victims, no matter what crimes or sins they committed.
“You kinda get used to the neighbourhoods,” Rev. Quinn told The San Francisco Examiner.
This week, for instance, the three prayer warriors went to three spots in San Francisco where victims of violence died. In each of the sites, Rev. Quinn prayed to God to “dispel this shadow of death” in the area.
When they could not say for certain where a victim of violence was killed, the Catholic priest and his two companions would pray under a nearby tree. Sometimes, passersby who knew the homicide victim would join their prayer circle.
“We usually like to pray near a tree when we don’t know the exact spot, because it’s a sign of life,” Escobar, one of Rev. Quinn’s companion, told The San Francisco Examiner.
Their mission, however, does not stop in the streets. Escobar shared how the ministry also reaches out to the families and communities of the homicide victims. They also work with people in jails and prisons, hoping to bring them the gift of God’s mercy.
“We connect with the family and accompany the family through that process and invite them to come to spiritual retreat to find comfort in healing,” Escobar said. “Then, when ready, they help other families.”
The prayer warriors now seek to spread their mission to nearby archdioceses, such as San Mateo and Marin.