Several hundred joined Diocese of San Jose’s Bishop Patrick McGrath in an evening of Prayer for Victims of Violence, co-sponsored by CAMPAIGN NONVIOLENCE on Sept. 30th. Liturgical dance and candles for victims created a beautiful environment as names of more than 110 who have been lost to violence echoed throughout the Cathedral. A Reflection by Jeanne Bishop from Chicago, author of Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy, and Making Peace with My Sister’s Killer, deeply moved the group. She shared her journey to reconciliation with the offender, visiting him in prison, as he moves to a deeper awareness of the depth of their loss. !Presente! to all those who are mourned.
Below is an article that was written in The Valley Catholic newspaper of San Jose, CA.
Honoring Those Lost to Violence
By Liz Sullivan
SAN JOSE – It was a moment to honor those touched by tragic violence. It was a moment to remember. And a moment to hopefully heal a little.
On September 30, the Diocese of San Jose held a prayer service at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph for the victims and survivors of violence.
About 100 people gathered and were joined by Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, Deacon Ruben Solorio, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez and San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel.
Prayers were read, songs were sung and the names of dozens of victims of violence were read and honored with a lit candle around the alter.
Author Jeanne Bishop was the featured speaker.
Bishop, an attorney from Chicago, has written a book called “Change of Heart”, which chronicles her path from denial to forgiving her sister’s killer. Bishop’s sister Nancy and her husband Richard were ambushed when they returned home to their townhouse in Chicago the Saturday of Palm Sunday. The couple had just returned home after dinner with family to announce they were expecting their first child. The killer, a 16-year old boy, was found guilty of murder and sent to life in prison without parole.
For many years afterwards, Bishop never said the killer’s name and refused to acknowledge him. Then something happened that has changed her life for good.
“I had a revelation that when I finally said his name that he was a child of God,” said Bishop. “I began to pray for him and write to him. The first time I wrote him he wrote me a 15-page letter back.”
From there Bishop began visiting him and continues to visit him.
“It has been so incredibly healing for me,” she said.
Bishop McGrath thanked Bishop for telling her poignant story.
“Thank you most importantly for reminding us about the power of love,” he said.