Cardinal Cupich Dedicates, Blesses New Peace Center In Austin

Bernie Tafoya
May 24, 2018 - 10:45 am

Archdiocese of Chicago

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Cardinal Blase Cupich dedicated and blessed Thursday a new “peace” center in the Austin neighborhood on the West Side.

Angel Gutierrez, vice-president of Catholic Charities, said the organization serves 30,000 residents of the Austin neighborhood and that it’s a good thing for the Father Augustus Tolton Peace Center and Garden to be located in the neighborhood. 

Gutierrez said there are parenting classes and counseling services offered, including trauma therapy because of all the violence in the community.  He says violence "becomes part of their day-to-day, the dodging bullets, the cry, the victimization that happens in the community."

In the center’s garden is a new statue of Jesus kneeling and crying with his hands over his eyes, and leaning over a murder victim. On nearby stones are the words: Thou Shalt Not Kill. 

Archdiocese of Chicago

The Tolton Peace Center has been open since January, according to Gutierriez.  It's a hub for violence prevention, according to Catholic Charities.

Among the other services provided are help for the homeless in finding a place to live, breakfast and lunch for children in the summer and providing clothing to those who need it for job interviews.