Beloved in the Lord,

“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 

Once again we are grappling with the news of another tragic school shooting, claiming the lives of 17 innocent victims in Florida, and leaving a community shocked and in mourning. Parents are struggling to explain the ongoing violence to their children, many of whom are now expressing a fear of going to school. These are difficult and frightening times no matter what your age. We must, however, not let fear control our lives, but rather live in faith and walk by faith.

The lives of the high school students who witnessed this horror are changed forever. All of our lives should be changed forever! We should not tolerate this rampant violence which has spread to elementary and high schools, churches, businesses, movie theaters, colleges and more. We need to protect our children and provide for them the future they deserve!

Where can one turn for safety? God. He is with us at every moment, seeing us through every joy and every struggle. His mercy sustains us in our weakness. His compassion comforts us in our sadness. His peace calms our hearts.

We have the strongest weapon of all in our faith. The Church is here as our fortress. The depth of God’s love is beyond our comprehension, but it is real, it is tangible, and it is unconditional. Let love guide our lives and guide our actions with others.

Please keep in prayer the souls of all those who perished in this tragic shooting that God may grant them everlasting rest. Remember also the families who are grieving, the teachers who have lost students, and the teens who have lost friends, that the Lord may carry them through these sad and dark days, leading them ultimately to His Light and Love. 

With Love in Christ,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco