On June 17th, nine of Charleston, South Carolina’s most prominent educators and religious leaders were killed inside Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church — including four members of the clergy. In a silent vigil, countless millions sat glued to their screens as the details of the unspeakable tragedy were broadcast throughout the world. How could this happen, we asked? That afternoon, a small group, just 13 people had assembled at the church. Many were familiar faces. One was a stranger. But it was unfathomable that this stranger was a killer lying in wait — a man who would kill nine of those churchgoers and church leaders in cold blood.
Nine people gathered together for fellowship and Bible study — vibrant, loving, beautiful souls so full of life one minute — snuffed out like a candle the next. It was unthinkable, unimaginable, and unreal. And in the hours and days that followed, something perhaps even more unimaginable was made real. Inspired by the families of those murdered at Mother Emanuel that day, “The Hate Won’t Win Campaign” was born. Only hours after the tragedy, community leaders, politicians, educators and family members of the victims spoke not of retribution, anger and hatred — but rather of love, reconciliation and forgiveness.
“I forgive you.” Those were the words spoken by the daughter of one of the nine to the man accused of pulling the trigger. “I just want everybody to know, to you, I forgive you,” she told the shooter during his first court appearance. Referring to her mother, she said to the shooter, “You took something very precious away from me. I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you and have mercy on your soul. You hurt me, you hurt a lot of people, but God forgive you, and I forgive you.” Later, dozens of the victim’s family members and friends packed a courtroom to face the alleged gunman in person for the first time. Some stared at him from a jury box stone-faced, while others turned and wiped away tears. Several family members again expressed forgiveness. Said one, “He will not take my joy,” and with the accused just steps behind her, she declared “Hate will not win. I pray the Lord have mercy on his soul.”
In those darkest hours, the world stood witness as unfathomable evil met with genuine forgiveness. The world stood witness to the miraculous healing power of love.
As a faith community, we know that part of the Good News of the Gospel is that God’s healing power is present to us, even in our darkest moments — especially in our darkest moments. It is then that the light breaks through, and the way opens, and we know that God is acting in that situation to make all things new.
Peace and blessings!
We welcome Fr. Luis back from the Priests Retreat last week and look forward to hearing him speak about his experiences. Welcome home Fr. Luis!
LUX AETERNA LITANY NOV. 8
The choir will be singing the beautiful “Lux Aetena Liturgy” Sunday Nov. 8th. If you would like to have your deceased loved one (especially those deceased this past year) included, please write the name and leave it for the choir director after mass. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Video of LUX AETERNA LITANY from last year.
LITURGICAL MUSIC CORNER
by our Music Director, Rebecca Brown
10-25-15 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Oct. 25, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“The Lord has done great things for us, we are filled with joy!”
What would it have been like to be present when Jesus healed the blind man? Have you ever thought about that? How wonderful to actually witness a miracle with our own eyes! Well, miracles do happen. Just read Sr. Briege McKenna’s book, Miracles Do Happen: The Inspiring True Story of the World-Famous Healer. As a young woman, she was instantaneously healed of crippling arthritis and went on to follow God’s call to the healing ministry. She says, “The question Jesus asked Bartimaeus is the same question he asks all of us. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ With faith we should answer, ‘Lord, I want to be healed.’ ” In today’s first reading, God promises to deliver His people, to gather them from the ends of the earth, to console them and bring them back rejoicing. This is His promise to us, His people, His church. Rejoice!
Songs for the 9 am Mass:
Gathering Song: All the Ends of the Earth # 554
Gloria in excelsis Deo, gloria, gloria!
Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra, terra pax.
Additional words to the Gloria are found in your Breaking Bread hymnal, p. 6.
Psalm 126: The Lord has done great things for us, we are filled with joy.
Preparation of Gifts: Church of God, Elect and Glorious # 417
Communion: You Are Mine # 460
Recessional: Come Let Us Sing With Joy to the Lord (ss)
We are very pleased to announce the outdoor church property passed the county inspection with flying colors. Once again we express our sincere thanks to Frank Danzart, Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman, Brian Britten, Sonoma County Roads Dept., and Russian River Fire Protection District President Mark Emmet. We also thank the many volunteers from the parish who helped. We pray for continued cooperation and understanding from the community as we deal with the difficult social problems of homelessness in our town.