July 15, 2016

Editorial

Prayers are needed to help heal our nation’s wounds and divisions

Once again, it has taken unspeakable tragedies of historic proportions to bring our nation to a place that is becoming all too familiar.

Less than a month after a heinous crime claimed the lives of 49 people in an Orlando nightclub—the worst mass shooting in U.S. history—we are again reeling from a series of shootings that has left many Americans concerned, heartbroken and searching for answers.

Two African-American men killed by police in incidents captured on video last week—one in Louisiana, the other in Minnesota—sparked nationwide protests, including a peaceful one in Dallas on July 7.

As that march was coming to an end, gunshots filled the air as five police officers in Dallas died at the hands of a 25-year-old assassin, Micah Xavier Johnson, who told negotiators he wanted to “kill white people, especially white [police] officers.” Seven others, including two civilians, were wounded in the incident.

It was the deadliest incident for law enforcement in the United States since 9/11, according to statistics from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

While many of us are still pondering what has happened in our country in recent weeks, a question many of us are asking ourselves—and others—is: Why?

We believe a thorough and complex answer to that query will require considerable time and effort from those hired and trained to examine these tragedies.

Though many want answers and justice right away, all of us must understand these are complicated matters. But that should not keep each and every one of us from doing our part as brothers and sisters in Christ by extending prayers to so many in need—in Baton Rouge, in St. Paul, in Texas and throughout our country.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown asked for as much during a July 8 press conference discussing the horrific event there, and the lasting devastation so many on his force will be facing for some time.

“We’re hurting. We are heartbroken,” he said. “There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city.”

And the police chief did his best to ease tensions, which are running high between citizens and law enforcement in many parts of the U.S., because of recent events.

“All I know is that this, this must stop—this divisiveness between our police and our citizens,” Brown said.

We, as citizens, have the right to march peacefully—in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Atlanta, Dallas and Indianapolis—in every city where people want to express that First Amendment right.

But we should also support our first responders—police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians—because the vast majority of them are committed, caring professionals who put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe.

Following the week of violence across the United States, the Knights of Columbus has called for a novena of prayer to heal the wounds and divisions afflicting our country.

Knights and their families, and all people of goodwill, are encouraged to join in the novena—nine days of prayer—by reciting the Prayer for Peace attributed to St. Francis of Assisi on July 14-22.

Even if you cannot take part in this novena, make prayer for our country a priority. Recite the Prayer for Peace for our nation, where healing and unity are truly needed.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

—Mike Krokos

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