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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — Religious leaders in Stockton are responding to the rising number of homicides in their city by holding a mass for the victims. 

The Diocese of Stockton said they know it’s a long and hard road for families affected by the violence. It’s why they said they are there to help. 

“We go through a lot of pain. We have our good and our bad days,” said Sergio Chairez. 

Not a day goes by that Chairez said he does not think of his son Ruben Chairez Cisneros. 

“He graduated from Western High School. Great kid, did everything we wanted. He wanted to go to college,” Chairez said. 

In 2018, 18-year-old Chairez Cisneros was robbed, shot and killed outside of a Stockton Food-4-Less.

“At the end of the day, you know, our loved ones are with us and always going to be with us in our heart and our soul and our spirit,” Chairez said. “And that’s what matters.”

The mass will be held Wednesday for Chairez Cisneros and all the other victims and families affected by the violence in Stockton. 

“We really felt like we wanted to extend our hand to the community and say that we’re here and we want to be a part of the healing process,” said Erin Haight, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Stockton. 

Haight said the service —while a symbolic gesture — is meant to show the community they are ready to do their part. 

“That violence hurts everybody. Victims are obviously victimized, and then their families and friends are victimized. The perpetrator and their family and their friends are victimized,” Haight said. 

There have been 16 homicides in Stockton this year. There were seven at the same time last year. 

“We’re seeing it outside of our offices; we’re seeing it outside of our homes. We’re hearing the sirens. We hear the helicopters,” Haight said. 

Haight said their restorative justice program is committed to ending the violence. 

“This is a common pain that we all share, and it’s a common problem. And to that end, there’s a common responsibility that we have as community members to try and be a part of the solution,” Haight said. 

While still mourning his son, Chairez said he hopes other families know they are not alone. 

“I just hope they talk about it. You know, they don’t let it tear them up inside and they get help,” Chairez said. 

Mayor Kevin Lincoln, local authorities and other community leaders are expected to be in attendance.