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Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Sunday, October 22, 2017

Home : Viewpoints : Letters
7/19/2016 2:04:00 PM
Stand for love
Catholic News Service
Pope Francis reacts upon hearing a question about Orlando shootings.
Catholic News Service
Pope Francis reacts upon hearing a question about Orlando shootings.

As a country, we are reeling from the violence perpetrated in Orlando June 12. As Christians, we are also disturbed by the divisive rhetoric we hear daily in the presidential campaign. We shudder to hear of walls and boundaries that would only separate people from each other. We wonder how we can possibly respond.

In the simplest way, I believe we can only respond with love.

I have missioned Father Gary Smith, SJ for a four-month assignment on the island of Lesbos, Greece, with the Jesuit Refugee Service. While there, he will provide pastoral presence to Syrian families and refugees who flee the violence of their country in search of peace.

Father Gary’s gesture of putting his very self on that island to provide care for refugees is the gospel response to violence. His journey from Portland to Greece makes a clear statement: in the face of violence, we stand for peace. He makes clear that we stand for love for refugees.

We also stand for love for Muslims. We stand for love for our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered brothers and sisters. We stand for love for Latinos, Native Americans and all people of color. We stand for love for the incarcerated. We stand for love. Pure and simple.

What else would Jesus have us do?

I ask your prayers for Father Gary as he journeys on our behalf. May his simple, hidden action inspire us to do likewise, in our own home places and works, in words and actions reflective of our Christian vocation to love.

Fr. Scott Santarosa
Provincial, Oregon Province of Jesuits

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