An Excerpt from Bishop Reed’s Council Address Concerning Uvalde
Below is an excerpt from Bishop Reed’s address to Council in Corpus Christi regarding Uvalde.
Click here to read (“Go Baptize and Make Disciples:” The Bishop’s Address) to diocesan council 2023 in its entirety.
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Before speaking about what’s coming later this year, I need to revisit one more event from 2022, this one awful and still painful to contemplate. On May 24, just before school ended for the summer, an 18-year-old with a semi-automatic rifle purchased legally a week earlier entered Robb Elementary in Uvalde and murdered 19 children and two teachers.
The facts alone repel us. The devastation to families and divisions within the community are heart-breaking. The suffering seems unending. The loss of these children to such evil and violence is an affront to God, leading us to cry out to God and to once again call on our politicians to stop politicking and try to be statesmen and public servants committed to a greater common good. If you’re now trying to read between the lines and figure out what I “really mean,” please stop. I said what I mean.
Wherever we are on that blurry political spectrum, following Jesus should lead us to act with love and charity toward all, referring to – and deferring to – the teachings of Jesus. All our opinions and positions must bow before the revelation of Jesus Christ, whose light illuminates the human faces that so easily become just “issues.”
Even with intractable, seemingly unsolvable issues like gun violence, the Holy Spirit calls us to be more than just another voice yelling across the divide. Cynicism is the abandonment of hope, and thus, is unchristian. We are given so much more – compassion, forgiveness, reconciling love, and an enduring hope. What can be more important for our Church to offer than that?
Following Jesus also means entering into the suffering of others, standing with those who are weeping in the ruins of their lives. That is what the people of St. Philip’s Church, Uvalde, and their rector, Mike Marsh, have been doing ever since that terrible day last May. Mike, his wife Cyndi, and the people of St. Philip’s immediately began assisting in the work of rebuilding, comforting, and healing. It’s hard work that will go on for years. The outpouring of support from all over the Diocese and the country has been wonderful. As of January, more than $518,000 dollars had been received by our Diocese and sent to Uvalde, where it is used to meet the immediate and everchanging needs of survivors and families.
Also, St. Philip’s very quickly opened its doors to the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas based in San Antonio, so that they could offer support and counseling services to children, families and others suffering in the community. Recently, St. Philip’s and the Bereavement Center entered into a long-term agreement in which the parish will provide the Center with an unused building on church grounds that the Center will refurbish to create counseling rooms, a large group therapy room, art therapy rooms and an enclosed garden.
I urge your continued prayers and support for our sisters and brothers at St. Philip’s and for Uvalde. Half of tonight’s offering will be given in support of the Bereavement Center. I don’t think I need to encourage you to give generously to this ministry of healing.
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