‘Conquer bitterness with sacrificial love,’ bishop tells Virginians

By Catholic News Service
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Richmond celebrated Masses at St. Gregory the Great and St. John the Apostle churches in Virginia Beach June 2, two days after 12 people were shot to death in the city’s Municipal Center.

One victim, Kate Nixon, was a member of St. Gregory the Great; another, Mary Lou Gayle, was a member of St. John the Apostle.

“After tragedy and sudden loss, we often have many unanswered, and even unanswerable questions,” the bishop said during his homily. “This leads to anxiety and maybe even depression or despair. How can one move forward with so much loss?”

He noted that the ordination of five priests for the diocese the previous day and the feast of the Ascension that Sunday were to be occasions of joy and thanksgiving, but “there seems little for us to celebrate. All we can feel is a sadness in our hearts, and for those for whom the loss is closer, and its sting, so much greater,” Bishop Knestout said.

“There is the mixture of emotion: grief, anger, anxiety or maybe even, understandably, bitterness and rage at the injustice of it.” He continued, “How could such horrific things keep happening? And why did it happen this way — why do the young and innocent so senselessly and shockingly have their lives taken from them? What could the feast of the Ascension possibly provide for us in these circumstances?”



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