Dear members of the diocese,
Grief, shock and outrage have been filling our hearts since we learned early this morning of the murder of 58 (and counting) people in Las Vegas, along with nearly 500 wounded. Our prayers for the victims, for their families, for the wounded – and for the rest of us whose hearts have been wounded by what President Trump called an "act of pure evil," are a necessary start.
But there is more to be done. This morning I was on a conference call with several members of Bishops United Against Gun Violence. The Bishop of Nevada, Dan Edwards, was present on the call – and he informed us of the deployment of chaplains and clergy to hospitals and funeral homes in the city, and the preparations for a service of remembrance tomorrow at a church nearest to where the massacre took place.
In the next few hours the Bishops United Against Gun Violence will be putting out a joint statement that responds to the tragedy, and suggestions as to how we – as people of faith, might continue to respond.
A service of remembrance and healing will be held at Trinity & St. Philip's Cathedral in Newark tomorrow evening, Tuesday, at 7 PM. I encourage local churches to gather their congregations and communities together for solidarity and prayer at the same time, or when it makes the most sense for your local context.
The bishops agreed to ask their congregations that have bells to join with churches in Las Vegas by tolling them tomorrow at noon Eastern time (which is 9 AM Las Vegas time).
Oh God, may your mercy and grace fill our hearts, which have been wounded by an act of unspeakable evil; help us to live in hope and strength, and give us courage to act in solidarity with the enduring witness of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.