“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”


“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

 This verse is the prayer on the lips of Jesus as he hangs dying on the cross. 

It is also the prayer on my lips as we enter this holiest of seasons, the Sacred Triduum.  

Our CDN community recently joined with other religious sisters, brothers and priests to pray together for the most recent homicide victims here in Chicago. We gathered on a windy cold Chicago morning, on the 2200 block of W. 72nd St. to mourn the loss of Nyziereya Moore, a beautiful 12 year old girl who was killed by gun violence as she rode down this city block in the car with her family, out to celebrate her 12th birthday. 

Nyziereya was one of the 31 names (and ages) that we reverently read aloud at the vigil, pausing to remember each of them in prayer and honoring their life. The homicide victims this past month ranged in age from 12 to 70 years old, each of their lives cut short by senseless violence. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!”

The Chicago Catholic Sisters come together every month, since 2018, to pray with those and for those affected by violence here in this city. The mission of the homicide prayer vigils are to pray for the victims, their families and friends as well as pray for the perpetrators and their families and friends. To ask God for a change of heart in all of us so that no more blood will be shed on our streets and to be a visible presence in confronting the issue of violence. 

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

In Luke’s story of the Passion, Jesus is also quoted saying to the women of Jerusalem, “Daughters, Weep for yourselves and your children.” During this Sacred Triduum, I weep in prayer to God for a change in my own heart. Through my prayer, I want to be part of the metanoia that our world needs, to help stop the senseless killing of our sisters and brothers.  This change needs to begin with me and not by me looking to others to legislate my change of heart. No one can change our heart for us. We have to do that ourselves, with God’s grace of course. As Jesus went to his death, he didn’t rail against those who were responsible for putting him to death, he prayed for his persecutors and executioners.  And he continues to pray for us. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

This canonical year here at the CDN is focused on the importance and the power of prayer. As well as the need to make time and space for prayer in our lives, especially as religious sisters. I pray that I continue to grow in my love of being a faithful woman of prayer. I want to model Jesus’ love of prayer, especially in his/my most painful times. It is painful to think about the many victims of violence around the world and how many people’s lives are cut short each day by violence, including Jesus’ life. But Jesus reminds us in his Passion that God’s love always wins in the end. And if God won’t give up on us, then I won’t either. During this Sacred Triduum and beyond, let me continue to look for signs of hope in our world and to be signs of hope for others in the world, especially through my life of prayer. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”


So, how about you? How is Jesus asking you to be a woman of pray this Triduum? Pray about it.


Blessings for a holy Triduum and a joy-filled Easter!