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Missionaries of Charity lead Fatima procession for peace after slayings

02 9.14.17_MissionaryofCharityPeaceProcession PAGEMissionaries of Charity, friends and supporters, and parishioners of St. Michael Church in the San Francisco neighborhood of Oceanview walked through the neighborhood Aug. 27 after Sunday Mass, praying the rosary for peace and asking the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima after three people were killed within six months. (Photo by Valerie Schmalz/Catholic San Francisco)

September 14, 2017
Valerie Schmalz

Missionaries of Charity, friends and supporters, and parishioners of St. Michael Church in the San Francisco neighborhood of Oceanview walked through the neighborhood Aug. 27 after Sunday Mass, praying the rosary for peace and asking the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima after three people were killed within six months.

Two of the three were shot in broad daylight, and all at the intersection of Broad and Plymouth streets, just one block from the Missionaries of Charity’s Queen of Peace maternity home and convent in San Francisco.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the Blessed Mother’s appearances to three children in Portugal and her call to pray the rosary for peace. The archdiocese will mark it in a special way on Oct. 7 when Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone consecrates the archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

“We wanted Mother Mary’s blessing on the area,” said Missionary of Charity Sister Sharon, noting the police and neighbors are working together, and the sisters have been attending community meetings. The procession concluded with adoration of the Eucharist in front of the Missionaries of Charity convent, and with the Missionaries’ chaplain Deacon Rory Desmond blessing the neighborhood with the monstrance.

Gang violence in the ‘90s and early-2000s had generally abated as the neighborhood has rallied in recent years, working on beautification and forming an active community group, said Taraval Police Capt. Denise Flaherty, who with Officer Desmond Dunn guarded the Fatima procession. “The community has definitely transformed,” said Flaherty. “When we do have the shootings, it is so shocking. We are reminded of the tragedy of gun violence.”

Those killed were 65-year-old Lian Xiu Wu who came here 16 years ago from China to help care for relatives and was hit by a stray bullet just steps from her home on a morning in late March. Two others were injured and recovered. The Missionaries and those with them heard the shots during Benediction at the convent chapel, said Deacon Desmond.

In October, 22-year-old Keron Lamotte was slain, and in January, 18-year-old Josiah Lightfoot was fatally shot at the intersection, also in broad daylight, according to SFGate.com.

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