Evanston resident Steve Young got a call 20 years ago that would change his life forever. His son, Andrew, was out with his twin brother and friends when he was shot and killed by another young man from Evanston. The shooter, Mario Ramos, says he shot Young to prove his affiliation with a gang.
After his son’s murder, Steve Young said he felt like he was “experiencing a temporary insanity. You couldn’t believe that your life had taken such a terrible hit like losing a son.” And he was angry. But Andrew’s mother, Maurine, helped Steve see that forgiving Mario Ramos could help free him of some of that insanity. With the help of Fr. Bob Oldershaw at St. Nicholas Parish in Evanston, Steve and Maurine Young connected with the Ramos family and granted their son’s killer forgiveness.
Two decades later, Mario Ramos is scheduled to be released from prison and start his life over. A few weeks ago, Steve Young stood in front of the congregation at St. Nicholas Parish and shared details of the day of the shooting. He detailed how losing his son to a bullet has made him dedicate his life to eradicating gun violence and raising awareness of the dangerous effects of more guns on the streets. In that homily, he thanked the Church for its support of his family, but he also asked for prayers for Mario Ramos as he transitions from prison back to civilian life.
Steve Young came to the WBEZ studios to share a version of that homily.