Pope Francis at the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, March 14, 2018. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA.
Denver Newsroom, May 25, 2022 / 11:24 am (CNA).
A telegram sent to the Archbishop of San Antonio on Wednesday conveyed Pope Francis’ deep sadness over the deaths of 21 people at a school shooting in Texas the previous day.
“Assuring those affected by this attack of his spiritual closeness, His Holiness joins the entire community in commending the souls of those children and teachers who died to almighty God’s loving mercy and he implores the divine gifts of healing and consolation upon the injured and bereaved,” reads the May 25 telegram sent on the pope’s behalf.
“With firm faith in the risen Christ, through whome every evil will be overcome by good, he prays that those tempted to violence will choose instead the path of fraternal solidarity and love,” it continued.
A gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, about 90 miles west of San Antonio, May 24, killing 19 children and two adults.
A Border Patrol officer killed the shooter, a local 18-year-old identified as Salvador Ramos. Two police officers were injured by rounds from Ramos.
Earlier on Wednesday, Pope Francis had addressed the tragedy after his General Audience address.
“My heart is broken for the massacre at the elementary school in Texas. I am praying for the children and the adults killed and their families,” he said in St. Peter’s Square.
“It is time to say enough to the indiscriminate trafficking of weapons. Let us all work hard so that such tragedies can never happen again.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said May 24 that the country was facing an “epidemic of evil and violence.”
“There have been too many school shootings, too much killing of the innocent,” the USCCB’s public affairs director Chieko Noguchi said in a statement.
“Our Catholic faith calls us to pray for those who have died and to bind the wounds of others, and we join our prayers along with the community in Uvalde and Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller.”
“As we do so, each of us also needs to search our souls for ways that we can do more to understand this epidemic of evil and violence and implore our elected officials to help us take action.”
Hours before the general audience, Archbishop Garcia-Siller appealed to Pope Francis to pray for the victims of the shooting in his San Antonio archdiocese.
He tweeted: “Holy Father Pope Francis, say some prayers for the souls of our little ones killed today and two teachers. Uvalde is in mourning. The families are having a very dark time. Your prayer will do good to them.”
He added in Spanish: “Gracias por ayudarnos. Queremos ser como Jesús. Cuente con nuestra oración” (“Thank you for helping us. We want to be like Jesus. Count on our prayers”).