Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bishop of St. Cloud responds to mall terrorist attack

Like everyone else, I was shocked and saddened when I heard the news. My prayers this week have been for the victims of this violence and their families. I’m very thankful for the brave work of the first responders who risked their own lives to save others.

At the same time, I have been praying for peace and healing in our community in the aftermath of this attack. I am especially concerned that our Somali-Muslim brothers and sisters face harassment because of the actions committed by an individual from their community — actions that Somali leaders have publicly condemned as against their faith. We need to stand with them at this time. This is why I have been reflecting on the Golden Rule and Jesus’ teachings about mercy, loving our neighbor and everyone’s sacred human dignity as children of God.

As a priest and bishop, an important part of my ministry is to bring unity between people and God as well as strive to unite people in the community. Since arriving in the diocese three years ago, I have worked to foster peace and unity among our faith communities. A year and a half ago, a number of religious leaders in the St. Cloud area — Christian, Muslim and others — began meeting regularly to explore ways we could learn from one another and support each other. In addition to regular meetings, our Greater St. Cloud Area Faith Leaders group has organized an annual picnic where we continue to build relationships through conversation and sharing a meal. I have visited at other times as well with our local Somali-Muslim leaders.
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