San Bernardino bishop urges prayers for unity, healing after shootings

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BERNARDINO, Calif. (CNS) — San Bernardino Bishop Gerald R. Barnes urged people
to pray for unity and healing after the mass shooting in San
Bernardino Dec. 2 that left 14 people dead and 17 others wounded.

“For those who lost their
lives, we pray for their eternal rest and God’s strength to their loved ones
left behind; for those who are wounded, we pray for their health and healing,”
he said.

In a Dec. 2 statement, the bishop called on people to
pray for “all of the victims of this horrific incident and their families”
and also asked for prayers for law enforcement officers who at the time were
still “pursuing the suspects in this case.”

“Our community of San
Bernardino has faced great challenges through the years. Let us come together
now in unity to bring light to the darkness of this day,” Bishop Barnes

The shooting took place at the Inland
Regional Center, a state-run facility for individuals with developmental
disabilities where county health officials were having an employee holiday

Two armed suspects — later identified as Syed
Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27 — were killed by police four hours later in
a shootout about two miles from the social services center.

Farook, a county environmental
inspector, had attended the holiday party and left, returning with Malik, wearing
“assault-style clothing” with ammunition attached, according to news reports.

Police and federal agents have
not yet offered a motive for the couple’s shootings at the center, which provides housing
and work programs, and therapy and social services to more than 30,000 people
with developmental disabilities.

“Today, yet another
American community is reeling from the horror of gun violence,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,
D-California, said in a Dec. 2 statement.

“As the
families of the victims grieve and the survivors focus on healing, the entire
American family mourns,” she added.

Pelosi noted that gun violence
is “a crisis of epidemic proportions in our nation” and said Congress
has a moral responsibility to vote on common sense measures to prevent the
daily agony of gun violence in communities across America. Enough is enough.”

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles
J. Chaput said “each innocent life lost” in the shooting was
precious. “Each was intimately connected through family and friendship to
many others, who now survive them and bear a burden of unearned suffering.”

The archbishop, in a Dec. 3
statement, added: “Pursuing justice in this matter is in the hands of law
enforcement. Our task as Christians is to pray for those persons whose lives
were ended by the inexcusable cruelty of others.”

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