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San Bernardino Deacon: “The Islamic Community is Experiencing the Same Trauma We Did”

Jane Troy (C) and Patrick Baccari (R), of the The San Bernardino County Public Health Department and a woman (L) who asked not to be identified embrace as they arrive at candlelight vigil at the San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino, California, December 3, 2015. Baccari was at the Christmas party at the Inland Regional Center when the shooting rampage was happening. Vigils were held all around the region to mourn the 14 victims of yesterday mass shooting in San Bernardino. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 12/06/15

A personal glimpse at the tragedy via National Catholic Register:

Bishop Gerald Barnes of the Diocese of San Bernardino, Calif., participated in a candlelight vigil at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino Dec. 3 in response to the murder of 14 people and wounding of 21 others by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik on Dec. 2. In a prepared statement, he invited the public to join him in praying for the victims and for the protection of those in law enforcement responding to the shootings. The bishop was participating in a day of prayer with clergy at a diocesan parish when the shooting occurred. He was not yet taking interviews, said diocesan communications director John Andrews, but “he appeared quite shaken and concerned.” Since the shooters had fled the scene of the massacre and were initially at large, the chancery was closed for the reminder of the week. Andrews explained, “They could have been anywhere, and with a large public facility like our pastoral center, we didn’t want to put our employees in danger.” The chancery staff subsequently discovered that one of the victims was Damian Meins, husband of Trenna Meins, principal of Sacred Heart Parish School in Rancho Cucamonga. …Deacon Mike Bellinder, a Redlands resident who was ordained for the San Bernardino Diocese nine years ago, described the day of the shooting as “the longest day of my life.” His adult daughter, Colleen, works at the Inland Regional Center, the site of the massacre. He was home sick in bed, when his daughter texted him “Dad, I love you.” He turned on the news, and “I realized my daughter was in a life-threatening situation. It was a shock.” For an hour or more, he was unaware of her status. He himself had been seriously wounded in a robbery 20 years before, and his daughter’s situation revived vivid memories of the terror he’d experienced. He said, “I went emotionally ballistic. I wept and cried out to Our Lord, ‘Don’t let anything happen to her.’” His prayer was answered. She had been in a separate building that the shooters had not entered. The family was reunited that evening, but it wasn’t until the following day that Colleen realized the gravity of the situation. He said, “She started crying. She realized how close she’d come to dying.” …Authorities are investigating whether or not Farook and Malik’s embrace of militant Islam was the motive behind the shootings. Deacon Bellinder, however, says it will not create hostility in him towards Muslims. In fact, two days after the shooting, he participated in an interfaith prayer service at a Redlands Islamic center. He said, “I told them that I had a daughter directly affected by trauma, and I know that the Islamic community is experiencing the same trauma as we did. I said I bring our peace and prayers.”

Read it all. 

Photo: Getty Images

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