Editor's note: "Reconciliation in Chicago" is NCRonline's newest blog series, a weekly blog from the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, a ministry of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood based in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood. Each post will feature hopeful reflections from the ministry's staff and volunteers, as they share their stories about working with youth and families affected by violence and incarceration. As we kick off "Reconciliation in Chicago," blog series "Take and Read" will be on a summer hiatus.
"Reconciliation in Chicago" will be published every Monday at the feature series page Reconciliation in Chicago.
Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation began in 2002 to engage in a ministry of reconciliation both to those who are impacted by violence and incarceration, and to be a resource to the church and other organizations who seek to live out the call to be "ambassadors of reconciliation." Our work embraces a restorative justice philosophy in order to live out our call to be a "reconciling presence in a fractured world."
Currently there are eighteen people on staff including two Precious Blood priests, two Precious Blood sisters, and one Precious Blood brother, and around ten more volunteers who help in different programs in different capacities.
Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation engages young people (ages 14-24) and their families who are court involved and/or victims of violence. Our experience is that many of our families have a loved one who has been harmed, as well as a family member who has done harm in the community.
Our relationship with young people in our area who are court involved often begins while the youth is incarcerated in Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. Other youth are referred by schools, courts and community members. We seek to be a welcoming and safe place within the community. Through collaboration and training, the staff and volunteers are committed to the youth and families for the long journey towards healing and reconciliation.
In this series of blog posts you will find stories of hope and healing of these youth and their families. We hope these powerful stories can inspire you to become a peacemaker and agent of reconciliation in your own community.
[Juan Acuña is a religious brother and an industrial engineer with the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. He is originally from Santiago, Chile, and he is currently working at the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in Chicago as peace circles practitioner, IT and communications support, and managing art projects and exhibits.]