Pastoral Letter regarding Christchurch - 27 March 2019
27th March 2019
My dear sisters and brothers,
At times, life can be unpredictable. Just when we think we have it sorted out something comes along and pushes into a place that is unfamiliar. We become uncertain. Unable to make sense of what has just happened.
Events such as the ones we witnessed in Christchurch recently, push us into that area. The horror that such a thing could happen; the alarm that such things could happen close to home almost overwhelm us.
At such times, and more so because of the events of Christchurch, we are faced with a choice. Either to react or to respond. Today we choose to respond, not react.
Today we choose to respond in Solidarity with our sisters and brothers in New Zealand, in Christchurch and with the Muslim community. We respond in solidarity because we respect the dignity of each human person. For those of us who follow Christ we also respond in solidarity because God has shown us what this solidarity looks like in sending us his Son Jesus Christ. Today we choose to respond in Solidarity.
Today we choose to respond with Compassion, a word which means to “suffer-with”. When something such as the events in Christchurch happen it affects, not just the Muslim community, the Christchurch community and the New Zealand community, it affects us all of us. Today we choose to respond with Compassion.
Today we choose to respond with Hope. While many people seek to trade in fear and prey on our uncertainty, today we respond with hope. A hope that knows fear can never be or have the last word. A hope that says fear is not that which defines us. A hope that reminds us that, as we stand together today, what brings us together is always stronger than that which divides. Today we choose to respond with Hope.
Today we choose to respond with Prayer, for it was while people were at prayer that such awful events happened in Christchurch. Prayer is seeking to be in communion with God, and allowing God to be in communion with us. Our prayer today is that that communion will deepen in the lives of all people, and that the God of peace. Today we choose to respond with Prayer.
+Bishop Patrick O’Regan
Bishop of Sale