With great sadness of heart, we hold in prayer all those killed and wounded in the horrific mass shootings that have become such a tragically standard part of American life.  We pray for their families and loved ones and for all those whose grieving will be unbearably painful for so long a time. We pray for all those who will bear in their memories the terrible sights and sounds, the smell of blood and death, the terror of panic.

We pray for the first responders whose courage is inspiring and for the medical personnel whose skill, dedication and tireless, selfless hard work save lives. We pray for the news reporters who inform us of our reality and begin to probe the causes and ask the painful questions.

We pray for our nation and for all those who resist responsible gun control and for all who still believe that violence can only be overcome with greater violence and freer access to ever more powerful weapons. And we pray for swift and effective action from our politicians to better protect the vulnerable and stop the escalating spiral of violence that is a curse on our land.

We pray too for all those across the nation and around the world who bear the psychic scars and still dangerous but invisible wounds from their experience of war that they may find ways among those who love them to find peaceful healing.

And finally, embracing the spirit of Jesus, we pray for the shooters and their families, for forgiveness and healing.

In the spirit of the Dominican tradition, we call for serious and open attention to the many studies of gun violence, its causes, and ways to end it – and for more study where it is truly needed. We call all public figures to listen to the voices of their communities demanding a peaceful end to this epidemic of mass violence. We urge priests and ministers, rabbis and imams, and all religious leaders to preach the truth of every great religion’s call beyond violence to peacemaking and the bonding of communities in love as one caring and peace-filled family of humanity.

Prayer authored by James E. Hug, SJ
for Dominican Center: Spirituality for Mission