Pilsen churches kick off '40 Days of Peace' campaign on Ash Wednesday, offer ashes at CTA stations

CHICAGO (WLS) -- On this Ash Wednesday, some faith leaders took to the streets of Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood to once again call for there to be peace.

It's all a part of an effort by more than a half dozen churches in the Southwest Side neighborhood to launch their 40 days of peace campaign. Father Brendan Curran, an organizer with The Resurrection Project, supports the endeavor.

"Everyone's got a role this. Everyone in," Curran said. "So what we are doing is, everyone in from today: 40 days of peace in Pilsen."

Seven area churches of different faiths, including United Lincoln Methodist Church, make up the coalition known as the Pilsen Faith Table Initiative.

The months-old group is calling on all churches, businesses and residents to resist all forms of violence and be peacemakers in the neighborhood.

"There's a hope and a need right now for there to be peace and harmony," said Pastor Emma Lozano, United Lincoln Methodist Church. "We've been through a pandemic. We've lost a lot of lives. We've seen a lot of loss of life from violence in the community."

The undertaking began on Ash Wednesday, which is the start of the Lenten season, a 40-day period dedicated to reflection, prayer and fasting before Easter.

The ashes of burned palms are placed in the shape of a cross on the foreheads of believers, a symbol of repentance.

Faith leaders said they plan on heading to CTA train stations to encourage communities to choose peace.
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