Beloved,

The Basilica of St. Mary, its clergy, parishioners and
entire community are not only shocked, but numb and
appalled by the senseless mass shooting in Orlando, Florida
on June 12, 2016.

We condemn the use of weapons of mass destruction.
Lest we forget, we invaded Iraq under the pretense of
mass destruction to avoid the destruction of the entire region.
Yet, we have legalized these weapons for use by the average citizen.

We condemn, in the strongest term, Jihadists, whether they are
American or not, whether they are here or abroad. Terrorism is
not far off. It is on the doorstep on our nation.
Therefore, we must call on our President, Congressmen,
Senators and the entire free world to outlaw the sale of weapons
of mass destruction.

This week, we are awaiting the celebration, once again, of the
Feast of Pentecost where the Holy Spirit descends upon the Disciples and
gave birth to our Holy Church. We pray for healing. We pray for renewal.
We pray for God’s mercy to embrace humanity, to comfort the victim’s families
and the community of Orlando, Florida.

We urge for the elimination, from the face of the earth, this cancer of
terrorism and call upon all people to not only pray for peace, but to be
peacemakers themselves.

As people of God, created in His image and likeness, we refuse to live
in fear. So in the midst of this tragedy, we as Christians choose not to
focus on the criminal, but to focus on God Who is the source of
hope and love to overcome fear and uncertainty.

Prayerfully Yours,

Fr. George Shalhoub