October 31, 2023 // National

Maine Bishop after 18 Killed in Shooting: ‘God Is Always with Us’

OSV News – “Evil is part of the world in which we live,” said Bishop Robert P. Deeley of Portland, Maine, during a Mass on Friday, October 27, in Lewiston, Maine. “It’s how we deal with it that is important.”

Bishop Deeley made his comments during his homily
at an evening Mass in the adoration chapel at Holy Cross Church in Lewiston two days after 18 people were shot and killed during a shooting spree in the city. It was the deadliest mass shooting since 21 people were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in May of 2022.

Authorities found the suspect, 40-year-old Robert Card, dead late Friday night from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Maine Governor Janet Mills, who said she was “breathing a sigh of relief tonight knowing that … Card is no longer a threat to anyone.”
“Now is a time to heal,” she said.

A makeshift memorial is seen in Lewiston, Maine, Oct. 28, 2023, near Schemengees Bar & Grille Restaurant, one of the locations of the deadly mass shootings. Authorities found the suspect, 40-year-old Robert Card, dead late Oct. 27 from an apparent self-inflicted gun wound, according to Maine Gov. Janet Mills. (OSV News photo/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters)

Shelter-in-place orders for Lewiston and surrounding areas had been ordered from Wednesday night until Friday afternoon, and people were asked to stay home. Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston moved all liturgies online, and offered multiple opportunities for the community to come together in virtual prayer while the shelter-in-place order was in effect.

We have been “joined with you in prayer” during “this time of trial,” Bishop Deeley told those gathered in person and online on October 27. “It has been a very difficult time, I know, for all of you, and we are reminded in the Eucharist that, of course, the Lord is with us.”

During his homily, Bishop Deeley said it’s important to pray for those in need during times of difficulty.

“It is good to hear the words ‘I’m praying with you and for you,’” he said. “It is good for us to promise someone thoughts and prayers because it is the reality of passing on to another the deepest part of my life; my belief that I am created in the image and likeness of God and His love, and so are you.”

“When we offer someone thoughts and prayers, we’re precisely conveying that truth of faith which is our hope,” he said. “It is the way in which we know in our hearts that, indeed, God is with us. In moments of difficulty, it’s sometimes hard to get our heads around that, and it sometimes takes time, but it is the truth of who we are, it is the truth of our faith, it is the truth that God wants us to hear.”

“We may not be able to explain why bad things happen in this life, but what we do know is that His love is eternal, and that we will never be lost – that God is always with us. He welcomes us to life and to eternal life.”

After the “unspeakable tragedy” of the shooting rampage in Maine, Pope Francis prayed that God would give the entire United States his “blessings of strength and peace.”

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, relayed the pope’s condolences to the victims and their families in a telegram to Bishop Deeley. Vatican officials released a copy of the telegram on Saturday, October 28, three days after the shootings at a bowling alley and a bar.

Cardinal Parolin told Bishop Deeley that the pope “was deeply saddened to learn of the terrible loss of life resulting from the mass shooting,” and he expressed “his spiritual closeness to all those suffering from this unspeakable tragedy, especially the families who lost loved ones.”

Commending the souls of the dead to God’s mercy, the pope also prayed for the wounded and for the medical personnel caring for them and recognized the “noble efforts” of the police and other first responders who acted to protect the community.

“With firm trust that aided by God’s grace we can overcome evil with good, the Holy Father invokes upon the people of Lewiston, and indeed the entire country, Almighty God’s blessings of strength and peace.”

Catholic News Service contributed to this report.

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