In the second reading at mass this Sunday, St. Peter tells us to be sure to "give reason for our hope". As I write today about our parish, at first glance, it might seem hard to give reason for our hope.
A life has been a lost.
A building seriously damaged.
A local community shaken.
A parish community broken.
Yet, we are a people of hope. It's what the season of Easter is all about. We find light in darkness. We rise in death. We discover hope in despair.
Our parish community has been rocked in these past few hours. No question. But we will come through this because of the faith that makes us Catholic, a faith that transcends any building, that overcomes any tragedy.
We find reasons for hope in the many acts of goodness we have been recipients of in these hours. The hundreds of people who came to St. John's wanting to do something. The OLQA community for taking good care of our students. The staff at St. John's for working tirelessly to guide local officials. The incredible and amazing outpouring of service from the Suffolk County Police Department. The presence of Bishop Perez all day at SJE and the support of Bishop Barres - plus so many others who reached out to provide resources and express support. Yes - good reasons for hope.
Let us pray for and with one another in these days. Let us pray too for the man who barricaded himself in the church and whose life was lost today. Pray for his family and friends too. Prayer. Another good reason for our hope!
Our Lady Queen of the Apostles, pray for us.
St. John the Evangelist, pray for us. Please be patient.