By John W. Fountain
A CARAVAN OF HUMANITY. A PEOPLE OF faith. It idles on 78th Place near Racine Avenue in the warm evening sun one late-summer Friday in June. Music blares from a shiny green SUV outfitted with loud speakers that will lead them on their sojourn in the streets of the South Side of Chicago from the doorsteps of the Faith Community of St. Sabina. It is a spiritual showdown against the forces of darkness.
A bout for the soul of the city, maybe even the bold makings of a revolution that will not be televised. In one corner stands Faith. In the other: Violence.
Which will win?
Two reporters set out last summer to chronicle their journey, covering every single march over 12 hot and muggy weeks in Chicago, through the elements, even as nightfall consumes the last light of day. Chronicling the hope and also the marchers' pain—through the glaring sun and summer rain that would take this caravan of faith to perilous street corners, where, just hours earlier, bullets reigned. Where the wounded had lain, felled by a shooter's deadly aim.
Before summer’s end, this group of the faithful would come face to face with the Death Angel who came to claim even one of their own. And more than one mother would be welcomed into the unenviable club of being mother to a murdered son.
In the end, the summer’s violence would prove to be a foreshadow of one of the city’s deadliest years on record.
But might prayer and faith work in the fight to end violence?
“Church is the ‘huddle’ of the game... No one comes to a game to see the huddle but look to see what they will do when they leave the huddle to build the Kingdom of God.” -Father Pfleger