sfpd_crimescene.jpgA ministry of the Archdiocese of San Francisco held a prayer service Thursday at 16th and Valencia streets in the Mission District where a fatally wounded 19-year-old man collapsed from a gunshot wound early Saturday, a spokesperson said.

Father Dan Nascimento, a priest from the St. Brendan Parish, read a verse from the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament during the brief service, attended by about 10 people, for shooting victim Jose Escobar of San Francisco, said Julio Escobar, coordinator for the archdiocese’s Restorative Justice Ministry.

Julio Escobar, no relation to the shooting victim, said the service is part of an ongoing series of prayer meetings organized by the ministry at the sites of homicides in San Francisco to honor victims and comfort their family members.

The Catholic Church organization intends to hold services for four other people killed recently in San Francisco, Escobar said.

“This is part of our faith,” Escobar said. “Our faith causes us to deal with the dead. Also, our ministries deal with the family members of the dead.”

In addition to supporting victims’ families, the ministry’s goal is to console the families of people who are jailed for committing homicides in the city, he said.

“We want to create a support ministry for both victims’ family members and family members of those who are incarcerated,” he said.

The ministry expects about 400 people to attend its next annual conference for family members at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, 1111 Gough St., on March 23, 2013. The group held a conference this year on March 24, Escobar said.

Services at the conference are held in Spanish and directed mostly to the Hispanic community, since a high number of the homicide victims in the city are Hispanic, he said.

The ministry also will go outside of San Francisco to coordinate eight retreats, four conducted in Spanish and four in English, to serve both Hispanic and non-Hispanic family members, based in San Mateo and Marin counties sometime next year, Escobar said.

The number of homicides in San Francisco so far this year reached 57, including one that occurred Wednesday night, according to Officer Romeo De La Vega of the Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit.

Jeff Burbank, Bay City News

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