Recently, we all became aware of two mass shootings over a weekend. The first was in El Paso, Texas and the following day we heard of another shooting in Dayton, Ohio. These are just two incidents that made the national news. It has become commonplace in our country to hear news of shootings. This trend has been happening for some time. Two responses are possible, the first being numb to the news along with feeling helpless or fearful. The second response requires more thought and conversation as we are invited into a process of discussion, listening and discerning what we can do to encourage our leaders to respond.
I recently met with my Pastor’s Advisory team and we began some discussion of what path we might take to have a Catholic response to the gun violence our nation is experiencing. I know as Pastor, even when I was preaching on this a few weeks ago, that there are no instant or quick answers to this challenge. This might disappoint those who are accustomed to quick responses and wanting to see instant results. Yet, in dealing with people, it takes time to bring them together to begin the discussions and to learn and discern how to move forward. We are putting together some civic academy evenings at our parish. Evenings of information, discussion, learning to listen to viewpoints and eventually offering the parish ways to talk to civic leaders. Valley Interfaith Project will host a clergy meeting in late September to discuss this issue. Auxiliary Bishop Nevares spoke at a recent VIP meeting and encouraged the Church to have a response to this problem.
It is a beginning and it is a long term work in progress. Our ultimate goal is to set up a process that in the future, we will be able to address all kinds of hot topics, in other words, a readymade set up to help parishioners gather to address important issues.
Peace in Christ,