I am writing this on Monday after the horrific killing of innocent people that took place in Orlando, Florida, early on Sunday morning last. I have been listening to the radio and also have seen some TV reporting. This killing is an outrage against our common humanity and it is especially devastating for the LGBT community that has already gone through pain and suffering in being accepted and respected by the community at large. We offer our condolences and support to the LGBT community of Orlando, and locally, in this time of grief and loss. We also remember the people of Orlando, the dead, the injured and all of their grieving loved ones. We remember previous victims of violent mass shootings whose memories and wounds will be reopened by this massacre.

We continue to pray for the dead and the wounded while also reconfirming our belief in peace and non violence. Jesus taught “blessed are the peacemakers.” We pray “let Peace begin with me” as the hymn says. St. Francis inspired the Prayer of St. Francis where we say “make me a channel of your peace”.

We also have to put legs on our prayers by working with the other churches, synagogues and mosques to raise up a common voice for peace and understanding, opposition to terrorism and opposition to hatred expressed toward any group of people in our society.

This killer gave allegiance to ISIS. We need to know how the fight against ISIS is going. Why is it taking so long to defeat this murderous group? Why are we in the dark about the progress or the lack of progress that is being made? Why is the focus on the presidential race and not on other important issues that happen every day?

We also think that our church, in the United States, needs to take leadership in protecting life by advocating that weapons of mass destruction be kept out of the hands of people who pose a danger to all of us. I will bring this to our Bishop when I meet him.

-Fr. Gene