Anti-Violence New Orleans Pastor John Raphael Dies of Cancer

New Orleans' own Rev. John Raphael died of cancer on Tuesday.

Raphael, known for his stance against violence and murder, pastored at New Hope Baptist Church and much of the Central City neighborhood around it. The sin of homicide deeply troubled him since it tore his home city apart for much of his time there.

"This morning my heart is heavy as the city of New Orleans mourns the death of Pastor John C. Raphael, Jr. of New Hope Baptist Church," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "I have personally relied on the wisdom and counsel of Pastor Raphael over the years, not just because of what he said, but because of how he lived. Pastor Raphael will be dearly missed."

Raphael frequently prayed and fasted to fight against the murder rate in the city. He also erected signs that read "THOU SHALT NOT KILL" with the word "NOT" always being underlined. Other words such as "ENOUGH" appeared on his signs as well declaring his disgust with murder in his city.

"Whether he was preaching on the corner, fasting for days on MLK, mentoring young people, or challenging us all to do more to end the death and violence on our streets, Pastor Raphael was consistent and responsible in challenging us all to do our part to reflect the love of God and improve our city," he continued. "May our thoughts and prayers be with the Raphael and New Hope families."

Raphael consoled the families of victims speaking words of hope over their caskets. Most of these funerals involved children and young adults.

Raphael also often preached about suffering as highlighted a sermon where he spoke about Rachel of the Old Testament mourning for Israel. He encouraged his congregation to mourn for their city in the same manner instead of providing them with false comfort.