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Archbishop leads prayer for slain man at Mission street corner

December 17, 2015
Valerie Schmalz

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone joined in prayer with the family of 26-year-old Hector Salvador Dec. 9 at 16th and Hoff streets in the Mission District in San Francisco.

Salvador was shot and killed in the early morning of Dec. 6 at the site. The archdiocesan restorative justice ministry holds prayer vigils for every person who dies by violence and prays for them and for those who killed them. The pastor of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, Rev. Richard Smith, supporters of the restorative justice ministry, and others formed a circle around a tree with a makeshift shrine for Salvador.

“Let us pray for Hector that God may forgive whatever sins he may have committed in human weakness and remember all the good he did. May God welcome him into paradise, let us pray to the Lord,” the archbishop prayed.

“For those who hurt and killed Hector. Let us pray for the conversion of their hearts and that justice and mercy may be served,” Archbishop Cordileone prayed.

Salvador was reportedly shot once in the torso around 2 a.m., and died after being transported to the hospital, San Francisco police said.

The archbishop said stopping violence is about changing hearts most of all.

“We need to teach people how to resolve their differences in a peaceful way, not turn to violence,” Archbishop Cordileone said. While the Catholic Church does not have a position on gun control, the archbishop said, “in general the bishops are sympathetic to reasonable laws that would regulate the sale of firearms.”

The archdiocesan restorative justice ministry reaches out to the victims of violent crimes and has been organizing prayer vigils for those who died by violence for more than three years. The vigils also include prayers for those who committed the violence.

The ministry recently created a program to prepare volunteers to support the families of crime victims.

“Adding to a family’s trauma after a murder are intrusions into the normal grief process that others facing a loss don’t typically face,” said Julio Escobar, director of restorative justice ministry, such as the need to engage with police, lawyers, investigations, or provide testimony and evidence. Other sudden and overwhelming burdens can be financial ones, like legal and funeral costs.

At the prayer vigil, Salvador’s mother, Maria Salvador said she did not know when her son’s body would be released or when she could have a funeral for him. Escobar told her he could help her organize a rosary for him.

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