Monday, January 10, 2011

In Tucson's Wake, "We Pray to Be A Channel of Peace"

In light of Saturday's horrific tragedy in Tucson that saw six killed and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords severely injured along with 12 others, Bishop Gerald Kicanas is currently en route home from Jerusalem, where he was representing the USCCB at a meeting of the region's prelates.

As the scope of the shooting spree became clear, Kicanas released the following message to the Southern Arizona diocese, which was read at the weekend's Masses there:
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

While in the Holy Land, I have learned of the terrible violence that has occurred in Tucson.

It is incomprehensible that such a horrible tragedy could happen in the community that we love so much. I am shocked and devastated as I see the horrible pictures on the news and hear the reports of those who have been killed and injured.

We pray for the repose of the souls of those who were killed and for the comfort and consolation of their families.

We pray for the healing of those who were wounded, among them Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and for the comfort and consolation of their families.

We pray for the comfort and consolation of our community. We share with each other the shock and the heartbreak of this tragedy. We weep in our sadness, and we seek comfort from each other.

We pray to be a channel of peace, that where there is hatred we will bring the love of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

As a family of Faith, we unite in prayer for the repose of the souls of our sister and brother in Christ, Christina Green and Federal Judge John Roll, who were among those who died, and for the comfort and consolation of their families.

Christina, just nine-years-old, received her First Communion last year at St. Odilia Parish in Tucson. “Let the children come to me,” Jesus said (Matthew 19:14). Christina is with Him.

Judge Roll was a person of great faith and great integrity. He lived his faith as a devoted parishioner of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish and St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson. For many years, he would begin his day serving the early morning Mass at Sts. Peter and Paul. He proclaimed the Word of God as a lector at Sts. Peter and Paul and St. Thomas the Apostle. He lived his faith as a servant of our nation for the cause of justice.

In your Prayers of the Faithful at this Mass, please pray:

For all those who were killed and injured in the senseless and tragic violence of the shootings in Tucson, for their families and loved ones, and for an end to violence that brings so much harm to so many innocent people, let us pray to the Lord.
In an intro to the letter, the bishop -- who said the attack left him sleepless and "broken-up" -- added a thought from his surroundings as the news emerged:
In the Holy Land, violence is feared and expected. Violence, too often, tears apart both the Israeli and the Palestinian people. Each community knows well the result of senseless violence. Their families have mourned the loss of loved ones and cared for those injured.

The people in Jericho, knowing well the life in their community and hearing about what happened in Tucson, asked me, "Bishop, how can we prevent these acts of violence that destroy the lives of so many?" I wish I knew the answer. But, as the world continues to seek an answer to that question, we can, each in our own way, strive to respect others, speak with civility, try to understand one another and try to find healthy ways to resolve our conflicts.

But, right now it is important as a community to pull together and to reach out in care and concern to all who have been affected by this tragedy.
The Tucson prelate will celebrate a "Mass of Healing" tomorrow night at St Odilia's -- the parish nearest the Safeway where the bloodshed took place.

PHOTO: Reuters(1); Getty(2)