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Prayers for Orlando; Pope Francis Reacts; Statement by Director of the Holy See Press Office

People hold a vigil outside the Orlando Regional Medical Center in the aftermath of a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016.
Fifty people died and another 53 were injured when a gunman opened fire and seized hostages at the Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, police said June 12, making it the worst mass shooting in US history. / AFP PHOTO / Gregg NEWTON

For the victims, for the families, for first responders and medical personnel, for the world

In response to the horrific reports out of Orlando, Florida — a confirmed terror attack — Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. has released this statement in his capacity as Director of the Holy See Press Office:

The terrible massacre that has taken place in Orlando, with its dreadfully high number of innocent victims, has caused in Pope Francis, and in all of us, the deepest feelings of horror and condemnation, of pain and turmoil before this new manifestation of homicidal folly and senseless hatred. Pope Francis joins the families of the victims and all of the injured in prayer and in compassion. Sharing in their indescribable suffering he entrusts them to the Lord so they may find comfort. We all hope that ways may be found, as soon as possible, to effectively identify and contrast the causes of such terrible and absurd violence which so deeply upsets the desire for peace of the American people and of the whole of humanity.

As always in these cases, there is little say beyond what is obvious: this is another evil perpetrated upon the innocent, a manifestation of the battle between dark and light that is all around us, seen and unseen. As Catholic Christians, we ask God’s mercy on the souls of the victims — those who have perished and the nearly as many who have been injured and may yet succumb to those injuries; we ask for the grace of consolation and strength for the families; we ask for blessings upon the first responders who risked their lives to rescue at least 30 hostages, and for the medical personnel whose talents, skills and compassion are at this minute being called into use for the sake of so many.

We beg God for peace — Christ’s own peace, the only peace, the peace that goes beyond all understanding; may it rain down upon our society, in our cities and towns, in our neighborhoods, in nations and governments throughout the world, most especially in those nations connected to both the victims of this heinous attack of a “universal” tourist city, and the sick, destructive movement which inspired it.

Our Lady, Queen of the Universe, pray for all connected to this crime
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, pray for us
Holy Mary, Mother of Christ, pray for us
St. Joseph, Pillar of Families, pray for us
St. Joachim and St Anne, Patrons of Parents, pray for us
St. Michael the Archangel, Patron of Police, First Responders and EMTs, pray for us
St. Thomas More, Patron of civic leaders, politicians and lawyers, pray for us
St. Luke, Patron of Physicians, pray for us
St. Agatha, Patron of Nurses, pray for us
St. Ephrem of Syria, Patron of Spiritual Leaders, pray for us
St. Gabriel, Patron of Communications workers and radio dispatchers, pray for us
Bl. Charles de Foucauld and Tibhirine Martyrs, pray for an end to the mad violence of Islamic extremism, and pray for the peaceful Muslims who decry it

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