Gun violence calls for the Gospel message in action, say local pastors

Philadelphia’s soaring rates of homicide and gun violence are down to deep-rooted causes – and the solution ultimately lies in the hope offered by the Gospel, along with concrete action, say several archdiocesan clergy.

Since January, the city has seen a 35% increase in homicides over 2020, with at least 132 victims. As of April 7, there were 98 fatal shootings, with another 422 nonfatal gun attacks.

Last year was its own grim milestone, marking a 30-year high in Philadelphia’s murder rate, and exceeding the 2019 homicide total by 40%.

Those wounded or killed have included pregnant women and children as young as 11 months. One 55-year-old man, a member of a video production team, was shot dead March 31 in the city’s Strawberry Mansion section while filming an anti-violence documentary for Netflix.

“We must ask, ‘Why are we so violent?’” said Archbishop Nelson Pérez. “We also need to pray, and to come together as parish communities to become beacons of hope and peace for people.”

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