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Pope Francis sends ‘blessings of strength and peace’ after shooting in Maine

October 28, 2023 Catholic News Agency 0
Pope Francis invoke the Virgin Mary as the Queen of Peace and Mother of Mercy at a prayer vigil for peace in St. Peter’s Basilica, Friday, Oct. 27. / Credit: Courtney Mares

Rome Newsroom, Oct 28, 2023 / 10:03 am (CNA).

Pope Francis said Saturday he is praying for strength and peace for the community of Lewiston, Maine, after the city experienced two deadly mass shootings earlier this week.

The Wednesday shootings at a restaurant and a bowling alley in Maine’s second most populous city, in the southern part of the state, left 18 people dead and 13 people injured.

The victims ranged in age from 14 to 76, according to officials, who released the names and photographs of victims on Friday.

The man suspected of the shooting, 40-year-old Robert Card, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on Friday evening after a days-long manhunt, the New York Times reported.

Pope Francis “was deeply saddened to learn of the terrible loss of life resulting from the mass shooting in Lewiston, and he expresses his spiritual closeness to all those suffering from this unspeakable tragedy, especially the families who lost loved ones,” said an Oct. 28 telegram signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

“With first trust that aided by God’s grace we can overcome evil with good (c.f. Romans 12:21),” it continued, “the Holy Father invokes upon the people of Lewiston and indeed the entire country, almighty God’s blessings of strength and peace.”

The message said the pope is praying for the recovery of the wounded, for the medical personnel caring for them, and for the souls of the dead.

“He likewise commends the noble efforts of first responders who put themselves in harm’s way to protect the community.”

Lewiston police said on Facebook late on Wednesday that the shootings occurred at local establishments Schemengees Bar and Sparetime Recreation.  

In a statement posted to Facebook, Portland Bishop Robert Deeley said it was “heartbreaking to hear of lives lost and dozens injured and to know of the pain and grief that so many families are experiencing.”

“We pray for all those impacted by this terrible violence, that the Lord may provide them with consolation in the midst of their sorrow,” Deeley said. “In this moment of trial and uncertainty, let us raise up our prayers, asking God to give strength to them and to our community now and in the coming days, and we ask him to protect our law enforcement officers as they seek to prevent further harm.”


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Texas school shooting: US Catholic bishops lament ‘epidemic of evil and violence’

May 25, 2022 Catholic News Agency 1
State troopers stand outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022. – An 18-year-old gunman killed 14 children and a teacher at an elementary school in Texas on Tuesday, according to the state’s governor, in the nation’s deadliest school shooting in years. / Allison Dinner/AFP via Getty Images

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 25, 2022 / 02:45 am (CNA).

The U.S. Catholic bishops said on Tuesday that the country was facing an “epidemic of evil and violence” after a gunman killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Texas.

In a statement issued on May 24, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged citizens to “implore our elected officials to help us take action.”

The USCCB issued the statement after a gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, southwest Texas, killing 21 people.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that officers were believed to have killed the shooter, a local 18-year-old identified as Salvador Ramos.

The statement from the USCCB’s public affairs director Chieko Noguchi said: “There have been too many school shootings, too much killing of the innocent. 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.”

Responding to the shooting on May 24, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller tweeted: “God have mercy on our children, their families, their communities. Darkness is dense with one more shooting in our country.”

“Let us help one another to spark light and warmth. May we keep each other in company. Prayers are needed.”

The U.S. bishops deplored mass shootings in New York State and California earlier this month.

In a May 16 statement, the USSCB said that it continued to “advocate for an end to violence,” citing the Church’s consistent appeals for “rational yet effective forms of regulation of dangerous weapons.”

The USCCB spoke out after a gunman killed 10 people and injured three others on May 14 at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and a shooter killed one person and wounded five others on May 15 at a church in Laguna Woods, California.