Urban Doloroso -- The Sorrowing City -- began with a moving ceremony at St. Sabina Tuesday night. It's a new push to raise awareness of youth violence.
Whenever a Chicago child becomes a victim of gun violence in the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel makes a phone call.
"It is the lonliest call I do as mayor," he said Tuesday night at the start of Urban Doloroso, the first of five memorial events to honor children lost to violence. "I do it as a parent, not as a mayor."
One of those calls were made just hours earlier, to the mother of a 10-year-old boy who was shot in the leg Monday night while trick-or-treating with friends.
"You are not alone in this moment of grief and this moment of doubt," a subdued Emanuel told a crowd packed into St. Sabina's Catholic Parish, his remarks seemingly extemporaneous and heartfelt.
"You are not alone" was the refrain in his remarks.
Urban Doloroso was conceived three years ago, taking its name from the ancient medieval hymn Stabat Mater Dolorosa -- or The Sorrowing Mother Stood -- which depics Mary at the base of the cross watching her son die in senseless violence, an event program explained.
More than 270 Chicago Public School kids have been killed since Urban Doloroso's inception.
At a candlelight vigil outside the church, Anjanette Albert, the mother of Fenger High School student Derrion Albert, who was beaten to death by a pack of teens in September 2009, said the event gave her comfort.
"It's just really good no one's forgotten us," she daid.
The memorial events, which include poetry, music, photography, candlelight vigils and youth performances, continue through Sunday.