Baton Rouge Bishop Calls for Week of Prayer
In the wake of Sunday’s ambush and assassination of police in Batton Rouge, LA, Bishop Robert Meunch issued the following statement:
Words cannot express the emotions we feel for those who have lost loved ones in the tragic events of this day. Their entire lives have been unexpectedly and terribly turned upside down. In visiting this afternoon with two of the families affected by these shootings, Fr. Tom Ranzino and I shared prayer and support in the midst of their shock, horror and grief. Prayer is a powerful path to follow when tragedy happens, but even the most devout of us sometime question: “What good could come of this?” Only the Word of God has the answer to the questions that shake our faith: The answer is our Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus, hope ultimately triumphs over despair; love ultimately triumphs over hate; and resurrection ultimately triumphs over death. Standing firmly on the pillars of these eternal truths, we look to his words of promise in the Sermon on the Mount, and we recall two beatitudes that speak to the hope we should hold, especially today: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God,” and “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Mt. 5: 9, 4). We renew our call for a diocesan-wide week of prayer and fasting as we reflect on the events of the last several days, and as we work toward a lasting peace in our communities.
Bishop Muench issued the call for a week of prayer and fasting on July 7, a long with reflection questions and the suggestion to pray St. Francis’s “Peace Prayer”:
As we mourn the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philando Castille in Falcon Heights, and the five Dallas Police Officers: Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael J. Smith, Michael Krol, and Lorne Ahrens, we acknowledge that we who make up the Church of the Diocese of Baton Rouge are as diverse as the communitities in which we live. We have different stories, different experiences, different backgrounds, different opinions, and different understandings. The current situation in our community is fluid and changing. As we search as a diocese to respond in a way that will unite us and bring us together to work for converted hearts and spirits, let’s do what we can do now. Our immediate response is a sincere request that all adult persons in our diocese pray and fast this week so that we may gain wisdom and courage to become personally and communally involved in building bridges across everything that divides us to become better brothers and sisters to each other.
The following reflection questions and prayer are offered to guide you in your prayer this week. Your fast may take any form you wish. Perhaps it can be what you found most helpful this past Lent.
Psalm 139 reminds us that we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made” in the image and likeness of a loving, forgiving and merciful God. Please consider these two questions in your prayerful reflection this week.
1. What does it mean to you that we are all made in the image and likeness of God?
2. How can you acknowledge this great truth in your words and actions toward those whom you perceive as “different” from you?
Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And 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. Amen.
The Diocese will also hold Eucharistic Adoration at the cathedral from noon – 6 pm Sunday, and has invited all of Baton Rouge (Catholic and non-Catholic) to stop in to pray.
Eternal rest grant unto the dead, O Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon them. And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Grant peace also their families and all the people of Baton Rouge, Amen.
Image courtesy the Diocese of Baton Rouge.
Click here to see all our current stories and photos.
Please share this story. To get local Catholic news, features and photos every day in your inbox, subscribe in the box at the top of every page or send a request to TheCatholicBeat@gmail.com.