The bishops of the two dioceses where violent shootings occurred over the past weekend issued statements asking for prayers for the victims and families.
Nine people were killed and at least 26 wounded in Dayton, Ohio, (Diocese of Cincinnati) the morning of August 4, in the city’s historic Oregon District, popular for its restaurants and nightclubs.
The Dayton tragedy comes less than 24 hours after a young man opened fire at a crowded Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 20 and wounding dozens more.
In the aftermath of the horrific deadly overnight shooting in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday, August 4, 2019, Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati, Ohio, issued the following statement:
It is with a heavy heart that we turn to the Lord in prayer on this Sunday. As tragic and violent shootings continue in our country – yesterday in El Paso, Texas, and overnight in our own community of Dayton, Ohio – I ask for everyone of faith to join in prayer for the victims and their loved ones. May we, the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, in unity petition our Blessed Mother to intercede for our families and neighbors to know the peace and healing of Jesus, her Son.
Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas, issued the following statement on Saturday, August 4:
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” ~Matthew 5: 4
After this tragic day in El Paso, my heart is filled with sadness for the many victims and their families. Saturday began like any other. People were going about their daily activities. Some chose to stop by the local Walmart to pick up some things. And then hatred and evil insanity interjected their senseless aggression.
As a minister, I am called to be present to those who suffered this attack and to their families. I need to do so with a sense of composure. But as I visited with victims and those they love my heart was breaking within me. Their questions are mine as well. Why the innocent children? Why the mothers with babes in their arms? Why should any human being ever be subjected to such violence?
Once again in our nation, we see the face of evil. We see the effects of a mind possessed by hatred. We see the effects of the sinful and insipid conviction that some of us are better than others of us because of race, religion, language or nationality. “He waited for judgment, but see, bloodshed! For justice, but hark, the outcry!” (Isa. 5:7).
In the last several months, the borderlands have shown the world that generosity, compassion and human dignity are more powerful than the forces of division. The great sickness of our time is that we have forgotten how to be compassionate, generous and humane. Everything is competition. Everything is greed. Everything is cold. Tenderness and the love that knows no borders are crucified in a whirlwind of deadly self-seeking, fear and vindictiveness.
It was precisely to confront this diabolic evil that God sent his Son into the world. It was to enter into the midst of this and to experience its full force that the innocent one, Jesus, experienced his passion and cross. Just when it appeared that evil had won the day Christ rose victorious!
This is my hope for all who have suffered this violence today and for our community. The Christ who suffered is in our midst. He is our companion. We trust he will raise up the fallen, bring healing to the victims and console our broken community.
Our El Paso community will indeed rise above this terrible day. Our God is a loving God, greater than hatred, more powerful than evil. We trust that we will witness the fulfillment of his words, “See, I make all things new!” (Rev. 21:5)
Today let us mourn the dead and pray for them. Tomorrow let us recommit to love. And let us all brace ourselves for just action that will overcome the forces of division and build a more loving society.