MILWAUKEE — The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist held a prayer service Friday afternoon in response to the recent shootings in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton.
Bishop Jeffrey Haines presided over the service, which dozens of community members attended. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Urban Initiative MKE, the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist and the Family of Four Eastside Parishes co-sponsored the event. Prayers will be offered for healing, peace, conversion of heart, and an end to violence and hatred.
"It hits so close to home," said Lorena Vazquez, who brought her five young children to the service. "I heard about one victim in El Paso, who was a mother buying school supplies for her children when she was shot. She shielded her baby, and died. It makes me think it could have been me. I'm here to pray for her, and all those victims and their families."
Some may say "thoughts and prayers" aren't enough in these times, but for people who gathered at The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, prayer is just part of a bigger action plan.
"I don't want my kids to live with hate," Vazquez said. "I will teach them how to love everybody, and not discriminate against anyone because they're different."
"I need to be kind to others, so that kindness spreads," said Vazquez's 11-year-old son, Juan.
"I need [to] make sure my faith is balanced with action," said Mary Woods, the Chairwoman of the Black Catholic Ministry Commission. "I want to be courageous and speak up when I see something happening that I don't agree with."
"I don't don't think anything's going to change unless we all get outside of our small circles, and build intentional relationships with people of different backgrounds," said Anne Haines, with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.