Archbishop Sean O’Malley of Boston issued a letter that was to be read at all parishes during mass last weekend in response to the increased violence and the number of homicides in the city.
Boston police have recorded 41 homicides so far this year – as many as the city saw in all of 2003.
The Associate Press reported that the city’s leaders are particularly concerned that the homicides include 26 deaths of people under age 24, including one daytime murder of a coach at a youth basketball game last month. There have also been two recent non-fatal shootings of children in other parks, one of them in the middle of youth football tryouts.
In the letter, the archbishop wrote: "Our public parks and playgrounds, places, which ought to be oases of safe recreation and enjoyment for our children and families, have become the venues for terrible episodes of violence."
The archbishop joined a group of about 30 ministers who met with Mayor Thomas Menino last week, Aug. 6, to discuss the violence. They pleaded for peace at a public demonstration on the weekend. On Saturday, Pastor Gregory G. Groover said the ministers pledged to increase neighborhood watches and street outreach, and to preach peace from their pulpits.