Statement of Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, concerning Parkland, Florida school shooting

Just mere weeks ago, the eyes of the world were transfixed on nearby Sutherland Springs when that small community coped with an unfathomable tragedy as worshippers at a Baptist Church were murdered while attending a Sunday service.

Now, on Ash Wednesday, another unthinkable and unimaginable act of violence occurs, as 17 young people are killed in Florida while attending their high school classes. More than a dozen remain in the hospital with serious injuries.

As Lent begins, we are at a time of profound reflection for our nation as to why these numbing tragedies are unfolding before us at such an unbelievable pace.

We of course pray for these victims, their families, and the first responders to this horrific scene, but we must also ask ourselves, perhaps in a way never done before, how we ourselves and our country can lessen this truly evil violence that is out of control and currently permeates our culture.

Pope Francis has strongly called us to fasting for these 40 days, emphasizing its role in lessening violence and bringing us to peace in a unique way. I call on our people in the archdiocese to closely follow the Holy Father’s words and actions; we need to undertake fasting and penance more than ever!

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