Dear Fr. Ferdinand and parishioners of St. Peter’s parish, 

I imagine that this morning you are filled with many emotions as you gather at St. Peter’s a few days after your church was so seriously vandalized. Seeing the photos and then walking with your pastor amidst the chaotic mess in a place that is sacred, it is profoundly discouraging. I am grateful that you are back in the church this morning, persevering in your act of thanksgiving and in your effort to build up the parish community so that you can live the Gospel.  

Even in the midst of things smashed and broken, there are reasons to be thankful. No one was physically hurt . People have come together to help in whatever way possible. The Tabernacle and other holy images were not significantly damaged. We have insurance. 

Foremost, I invite you to see these events from a faith perspective. In the Christmas season we have just celebrated, we have rejoiced that Christ comes precisely into our brokenness, and walks with us there. Indeed, each time we celebrate the Eucharist we remember that on the cross he himself was broken for us. And it is from the cross that Jesus invites us to follow him, allowing ourselves to be spent, broken for others. Our faith is a paschal faith. It is precisely about being broken, about dying, about God’s power to transform chaos into peace, darkness into light and death into life. Today you are in solidarity in a new way with those who experience brokenness and destruction on a regular basis. Take courage. The Lord walks with us on this path. 

Finally, I invite you to pray for the person or persons who did this damage. We can’t read their minds and hearts, don’t know what ways they have been hurt, and it is not the way of Jesus to turn them into foes. Pray for them. And one step at a time, let us work together to rebuild your parish, and to continue on the path of discipleship, striving to follow our crucified and risen Lord. 

Communion in Him, 

Bishop Don

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