his jail cell and visit the person whowould ultimately testify against himin court.
Wilfredo and Alberto both wereOK with that, both understood that.
Both knew that’s what we in religiouslife do: We stand in the breach, inthat muddled mess, to witness tothe possibility of reconciliation, thepossibility of hope in those kinds ofdark spaces.
About two and a half years laterwhen we finally went to court, I waswith Alberto and his mom as we
What would it looklike if we conducteda ministry ofreconciliation in acommunity impactedby violence andincarceration?
sat in a small room adjacent to thecourtroom waiting for Alberto togive his testimony. A young state’sattorney came in to prepare him.
He said, “Now look, Alberto, this iswhat I want you to say, and this howI want you to say it so we can getas much prison time for this guy aspossible. We want to send him awayfor as long as we can.” He kept saying that over and over.
Now I knew Wilfredo; I knew
that one act of violence wasn’t the
entirety of who he was. And so I
About day four or five, he started
to get stronger, and the police came
to the hospital carrying the same
type of manila file folder they always
have. They had come to ask Alberto
to identify the person who shot
him. When they opened that file
folder, clipped inside was a picture,
and I recognized the young man in
the photo. His name was Wilfredo.
I knew him and I knew his family.
After the police left, I stayed with
Alberto and his mom for a while.
Then I left and went to the jailwhere they held Wilfredo. I wentinto the maximum-security dayroomwhere he was sitting. He got up andgave me a look that said, “I knewyou were coming.” By then he knewthe person he had shot was part ofthe parish. Later, when I left Wilfredo, he knew I was going to leave