The past couple of weeks have been difficult times for our country as we share in the suffering experienced by grieving families, citizens and the law-enforcement community in Dallas, TX, where five officers were killed and seven others injured in the senseless act of violence by a lone gunman.
The fact that this senseless shooting happened during a peaceful protest over recent questionable police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana makes the tragedy even more poignant. I was grateful to our Archbishop for his request that all parishes include a special intercession in last weekend’s Masses. Perhaps we can continue to pray “for an end to hatred and division; for those killed by violence in recent events in our country; for the wisdom and desire to seek ways of love and respect for one another; for law enforcement officers who seek to maintain safety on our streets; and for a true commitment to overcome division in America.”
At the end of last Sunday’s Masses I extended special concern and expressed gratitude to our St. Bernard law enforcement folks for their unselfish service. Allow me, on behalf of the whole parish, to do so again in this column. Thanks to the individuals who are in front of church on weekends, assuring that folks are safe as they cross the street to enter church, and to those who graciously give safe escort to our parish secretary as she goes to the bank to deposit the weekly collection. Thanks to law enforcement personnel who monitor the traffic in front of St. Clement School while children arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon and who visit our school from time to time to help our children learn how to stay safe. Thanks to those who respond quickly and generously when called in times of emergencies. While I thank all of the women and men who are part of the St. Bernard Police Force, I am especially proud of our own parishioners who serve in this noble profession of service. When you are worshipping with us, I am certain that you give your fellow parishioners an added sense of well-being.
Even though St. Bernard is a small safe neighborhood community, men and women in blue still put their lives on the line for us every day when they put on their uniforms and begin their noble work. How can we be anything but deeply grateful!
In his letter to pastors, Archbishop Schnurr wrote: “The week’s events underscore the urgency of every parish working to heal divisions that keep people from being truly neighbors.” With all my heart, I pray that there is no one who worships or visits at St. Clement who feels excluded or disrespected. If there are divisions that I may be unaware of, I pray you will please let me or Fr. Jim or any member of the parish Pastoral Council know. We would be unworthy to bear the name Christian and do harm to the Body of Christ, if we allowed such division to continue.
With St. Francis, let’s each us of pray, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” Have a great week!
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