An official of the migrants ministry of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines joined calls for prayers for victims of the mass shooting that happened in the United States on May 24.
“It is urgent and necessary to call in God for all safety and peace in the community,” said Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, vice chairman of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.
“We implore God’s power and mercy that those harboring evil and hatred intentions would have change of heart,” said the prelate over Radio Veritas 846.
“All must be constant and persevering to pray, and never waiver in their faith in God,” he added.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis said his “heart is broken” after 19 children and two teachers died in the shooting at a Texas elementary school.
The pope said he is “praying for the children and adults who were killed, and for their families.”
“It is time to say enough to the indiscriminate trafficking of arms,” he added. “Let us all commit ourselves so that such tragedies can never happen again.”
The shooting incident came about two weeks after a gunman killed 10 people and injured three others on May 14 at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and another shooter killed one person and wounded five others on May 15 at a church in Laguna Woods, California.
The recent shootings have also reignited debates about gun control in the United States, with some US bishops chiming in.
Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville tweeted on May 25, “Don’t tell me that guns aren’t the problem, people are. I’m sick of hearing it. The darkness first takes our children who then kill our children, using the guns that are easier to obtain than aspirin. We sacralize death’s instruments and then are surprised that death uses them.”
The spokesperson for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Chieko Noguchi, said in a statement the day of the shooting that “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,” she said, “and implore our elected officials to help us take action.” – with a report from Catholic News Agency