Following is the text of a letter sent by Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley to parishes Aug. 6 in the wake of recent acts of violence in Boston’s neighborhoods. The archbishop asked the letter be read at all weekend Masses in the city of Boston.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
As the summer hastens to a close, I invite you to join with me to pray for peace and safety in the neighborhoods.
For some time, but especially in recent days and weeks, violence in our city has taken a terribly devastating toll in loss of life and injury, especially among our children and young people. Our public parks and playgrounds, places which ought to be oases of safe recreation and enjoyment for our children and families, have become the venues for terrible episodes of violence. I encourage all of us as faithful Catholics, first and foremost, to turn to the Lord and prayerfully implore His protection and peace.
In addition to our prayers, I would ask the faithful and clergy of each parish to consider what we as mothers and fathers, extended family, and neighbors might do in cooperation with other communities of faith, social service agencies, institutions and community programs, the Mayor, and public safety officials to work together more efficiently and productively to ensure peace and safety in the neighborhoods and homes of our city and to protect the precious gifts which are the lives of our children and young people.
In the past, we have faced difficult and challenging situations which have placed us in harm’s way. When any of us is in peril, the civic life of all of us is placed in jeopardy. Our history has shown that when we come together and work together, our collective response and resolve is strengthened immeasurably. We can do more things better together than we can do alone or in isolation. With God’s help, let us resolve to confront the recent upsurge in violence, especially gun violence, as a community united in our shared heritage as children of God, who deserve and demand to live with the safety and respect inherent in our dignity as members of the human family.
As citizens of Boston and as people of faith, we must resolutely work together to see that God’s gifts of light and love prevail over the dark shadows of evil and violence.
Asking God, through the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, to continue to bless all of us as we work together to make our city a safer place to live and work, I remain,
Devotedly yours in Christ,
Sean P. O’Malley
Archbishop of Boston