13 June 2016
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Let us join all people of faith and good will in praying for those who perished in the bloodbath unleashed in Orlando, Florida over the weekend. Let us pray for the comfort and support of the many grieving loved ones left behind and all those who are in shock and fear because of what they have witnessed. As people of faith, this is a time to stand with the suffering and announce the Good News of a loving Savior who has conquered sin and death with his own death and resurrection. It is time to denounce the violence motivated by hatred that destroys human life and human communities. Jesus, the Face of the Father’s Mercy, has shown us a better path that rejects violence and leaves all judgment in the hands of the Father.
Along with our prayers, we must also engage in the important work of contributing to a less violent, specifically a less gun-violent society. We must contribute to more rational and tolerant speech and action in the public sphere and unequivocally condemn crimes of hatred motivated by homophobia. No kind of prejudice or hatred towards categories of people can be consistent with our professed faith in Jesus Christ.
It is time to be truly agents of peace and reconciliation and bearers of hope.
Peace and all good,
Most Reverend John Stowe, OFM Conv.
Bishop of Lexington
The terrible massacre that has taken place in Orlando, with its dreadfully high number of innocent victims, has caused in Pope Francis, and in all of us, the deepest feelings of horror and condemnation, of pain and turmoil before this new manifestation of homicidal folly and senseless hatred. Pope Francis joins the families of the victims and all of the injured in prayer and in compassion. Sharing in their indescribable suffering he entrusts them to the Lord so they may find comfort. We all hope that ways may be found, as soon as possible, to effectively identify and contrast the causes of such terrible and absurd violence which so deeply upsets the desire for peace of the American people and of the whole of humanity.
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father
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be a place of mercy and of hope in God,
where everyone can feel welcomed, loved,
forgiven and encouraged to live the good life
of the Gospel.
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- Pope Francis
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