Brothers and sisters in Christ,
In October of 2015 I had the privilege to visit France with my classmates in the seminary. It was an amazing trip filled with many graces. But unfortunately this trip is connected to one of the worst terror attacks in recent years. Just a month after our visit to France, 130 people lost their lives to coordinated terror attacks throughout all of Paris. I’ll never forget that sinking feeling I felt watching the news about these horrible attacks in Paris, and also the haunting realization that “it could have been me.”
Unfortunately since our world has seen the attacks in Paris, we have seen even more at Brussels (2016), the Bastille Day Massacre (2016), Berlin (2016), London (2017), to most recently the events in Spain on August 17th. Sadly, the violence exists in our own country as well as we have watched racial tensions increase tremendously.
Friends, I write this bulletin for two reasons. First, I write this because Monday, September 11, is a day that many of us will never forget. It is the one of the worst experiences of terror in our country where so many innocent men, women and children lost their lives to unnecessary violence and evil.
I also write this because Bishop Walkowiak has urged us all to pray for peace. In particular, in response to the increased racial tension/violence in our country, he has asked us each to “reflect on how the sin of racism has potentially impacted [our] own lives and [to] ask the Lord for the courage and grace to resist this evil. Please pray for [our] community and our nation that we may come together as one seeking a solution to this wound that yet divides us.” And so, Bishop writes that these “recent events, and indeed the events unfolding over the last few years, days and hours all point to the need that we, as a nation, as a people, have for conversion.” And so friends, tomorrow in a particular way let us pray for peace and healing, not only in the United States, but among the entire human family through-out the world.
Though the human race is divided by
dissension and discord, yet we know that by
testing us you change our hearts to prepare them for reconciliation.
Even more, by your Spirit you move human
hearts that enemies may speak to each other
again, adversaries join hands, and peoples
seek to meet together.
By the working of your power it comes about,
O Lord, that hatred is overcome by love,
revenge gives way to forgiveness, and discord is
changed to mutual respect.
(Preface, Eucharistic Prayer Reconciliation 2).
Fr. Stephen J Durkee