Friday, December 21, 2012

Quick Takes: Newtown tragedy

"The souls of the just are in the hands of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But, they are in peace." 
--Wisdom 3:1-3

It's been a rough week. I am pretty sure we are all still reeling from the evil that took place last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. And those of us with six- and seven-year-olds cannot stop imagining, "What if…" and holding our little ones tight.

1) In First Century Palestine, the evil King Herod ordered the slaughter of all the male children two years and under, hoping to kill the Christ Child. Horror and grief filled the land, and their mothers could not be consoled. We ask the Holy Innocents for intercession in our own day.

A Prayer To The Holy Innocents

Holy Innocents, you died before you were old enough to know what life means, pray for all children who die young that God may gather them into His loving arms.

Holy Innocents, you were killed because one man was filled with hatred, pray for those who hate that God may touch their hearts and fill them with love.

Holy Innocents, you experienced a violent death, pray for all who are affected by violence that they may find peace and love.

Holy Innocents, your parents grieved for you with deep and lasting sorrow, pray for all parents who have lost young children that God may wrap a warm blanket of comfort around them.

Holy Innocents, those around you certainly felt helpless to prevent your deaths, pray for all who feel helpless in their circumstances that they may cling to God for courage and hope.

Holy Innocents, you who are now in Heaven, pray for all of us that one day we may join you there to bask in God's love forever.


The Feast of the Holy Innocents is December 28, and I know this Feast will take on special significance for many of us this year.

2) Fr. Barron addresses the tragedy:

3) Too many articles I've read over the past week deal only superficially in policy and politics and do not touch upon the reality of evil and the darkness of the human heart.

A few commentators, however, have gone deeper in exploring our primal sicknesses. Dr. Gerard Nadal at Coming Home wrote a notable piece:
Causes and Remedies. 
That’s what we want. A nation addicted to fast food and fast answers, where the police solve the crime in one hour on TV (less if we factor in the commercials). The difficulty with real life is that the answers are often elusive. That’s frustrating when calamities on the scale of Sandy Hook are visited on us, because humans cannot bear the chaos of random evil. 
Read the rest, here:

4) Ben Stein, a Jew, can see the darkness as well, and includes comments "that will enrage the beautiful people" -- and no doubt he is right on that score, as you will see:

No need to sugar coat the truth of it.

5) I am not a gun owner, nor am I a member of the NRA. I support the Second Amendment, but it's not my passion, and I understand on an emotional level why ordinary folks want to blame guns for the atrocity of Sandy Hook. But I think Charles Hurt is on to something with his piece in the Washington Times:

An excerpt:

A 20-year-old man grows up in America with every luxury imaginable. He is incapable, we are told, of feeling any pain. He is excruciatingly shy and utterly isolated. He is not able to fathom that other people around him have emotions and feelings. Computers and modern technology are his most treasured haven. He plays, we are told, vividly lifelike and violent video games that coach perfect muscle memory for quickly killing large numbers of people without a hint of remorse. Then someone — reportedly, his mother — teaches this unstable sociopath how to shoot guns and then leaves the guns so they somehow become available to him. And then, emerging from his isolation, he lashes out and kills at random 20 small children in retaliation for his own miserable life. 
And these people around here want to talk about America’s “gun culture?” How about this culture of irresponsibility? How about this culture of isolation, this culture of technology and vivid violent role-playing over and over and over again? What about the culture of loneliness and divorce and despair? This culture of painless living? 
No, they only talk about the “gun culture” because it sounds like a pat and easy answer to score some political points and raise a little campaign cash. Never mind that it is a craven insult to millions of good, responsible, God-fearing gun-owners across this country who would have gladly laid down their lives to save just one of those children. The line for that, literally, would be miles and miles long.

6) Finally, an appeal from the sister of the young priest from St. Rose of Lima parish who is tirelessly ministering to the families and community in grief, with no end in sight, even as we move through the busy Advent Season. Please consider acting on her heartfelt plea for her brother, Fr. Luke Suarez, ordained less than two years:

My friends,

All of you, I am sure, have heard so much about the tragedy in Newtown, CT. Many of you have received emails from me about my younger brother, Father Luke Suarez, who is a priest at St. Rose of Lima parish, a Catholic church just down the road from Sandy Hook Elementary. He, and his pastor, Monsignor Weiss, arrived at the school within moments of the shooting, and have been caring for the community ever since. The picture I have included was taken at the school.

Father Luke has an impossible task before him. His diocese is without a bishop right now…. Monsignor … is personally devastated by the losses. The parish is very large…. The rectory has received serious threats, and as my brother gave the homily Sunday at the noon mass, the church had to be evacuated by SWAT teams. After experiencing identity theft and online hacking incidents, he had to erase all of his internet accounts. After a weekend of endless media requests, notifications and vigils with heartbroken families, and little sleep, he now has two wakes and two funerals every day, until the fourth Sunday of Advent. Father Luke has not even been ordained two years.

My large family has been trying to send Father Luke our love and support from afar, and one of my brothers was able to visit with him briefly a couple times. All he asks for is prayer.

I have been wracking my brain, trying to think of a way that our beautiful, loving community could tangibly reach out to Father Luke, Monsignor Weiss, and the St. Rose parish, to support them in this most awful of times. I have sent many prayer requests, and I am asking for more prayers again. But I also want to ask everyone to search their hearts, and if the Holy Spirit moves you, please consider sending one of your family’s Christmas cards to the rectory, with a few words of love and encouragement. Here is his address:

Father Luke Suarez
46 Church Hill Road
Newtown, CT 06470

My brother has said over and over again that without the prayer support he is receiving, he could not keep going. And this week is only the beginning. Everyone there is still in shock. Their peaceful home has been desecrated by violence. They will need to live with this sorrow forever.

But in our weakness is His strength. Grace abounds. Can you help me carry him through this time of trial?

On a hopeful note, Father Luke did say that no media coverage has even touched the deep, beautiful awakening of faith that has occurred there. Their tiny church, where my children have received sacraments and where Luke was ordained, has been full of people in prayer without ceasing since this tragedy happened. Love is stronger than death.

Please feel free to share the address with your family, friends, and community. An outpouring of love will sustain these good priests through their impossible ministry–impossible on their own, but possible with God.

I am so grateful to live in this community. We are all so blessed with one another. Every day, I see you all loving one another as Christ loved. Thank you for letting me reach out to you now.

With humble appreciation.

7) In memory of the children lost in CT, I have chosen to show you a seven-year-old child who still can be saved. Please consider rescuing a child such as Parker, whom I have profiled before. His delays are reportedly mild, and he so desperately needs a family:

Click my photo for more information!
(My previous Orphan Report on Parker, here.)

Please also pray for Carla, who is missing her sweet Henry so dearly during this Advent Season.

Yes, this is a downer of a post, but this world, as we Catholics repeat in our prayers, is a vale of tears. The only Light in the darkness is Jesus Christ, and so now we take the final days of Advent to prayerfully await His coming. And we have hope.

Thanks to Jen, for hosting!


  1. Leila - love your quick takes today. I read almost all of those this week and had many similar thoughts. My own thoughts have sometimes been consumed with what my life would be like if my "mini-me" -- my 7-year-old -- my Helen, were taken from this world too soon. It is difficult to think about without getting upset.

  2. Thank you Leila - I appreciate how you put it all together. Love the prayer of the Innocents....prayers for the children, the responders, the families, the priests, Carla, the orphans.... Jesus is the reason for the season. Let us look towards that and find the "peace which passeth understanding".

  3. I had just finished writing up a letter to Fr. Luke right before I read your Quick Takes...

    Really, how can you comfort those who mourn (other than prayer)? I thought about this today, while thinking of Carla and all those who mourn their lost children:

    "Now when three of Job's friends heard of all the misfortune that had come upon him, the set out each one to find his own place...They met and journeyed together to give him sympathy and comfort. But when, at a distance, they lifted up their eyes and did not recognize him, they began to weep aloud; they tore their cloaks and threw dust upon their heads. They they sat on the ground with him seven days and seven nights, but none of them spoke a word to them, for they saw how great was his suffering." Job 2, 11-13

    Dear Carla and all those suffering the great loss of Sandy Hook, we don't always know what to say, but we promise to keep vigil with you until you get through this.

  4. So sad that the children are going to suffer from politics once again:

    1. Fey, yes, this has us all concerned. It will affect Malcolm's adoption and so many others. So many egos, so little care for the children, who are used as pawns. :(

  5. Leila, I was just about to ask you about this news from Russia regarding adoptions. I heard it in the car this morning and my heart broke. What is the likelihood of this becoming law? They just could not keep Malcolm from his family! I will pray and pray for them. I keep remembering him packing up his toys and telling the interpreter that he was getting ready to go with his Mama and Papa. Please, Lord, not more suffering for the children and their parents! I will pray to the Holy Innocents for Malcolm, and for all the other children and the parents who want to bring them home. The Holy Innocents prayer is beautiful.

  6. So much tragedy, so much love needed to pass along to those suffering. I can't imagine handling this without God there to comfort me and wrap me in his arms to give me safety during the toughest moments. Yesterday I was given the results of my son's EEG. He has Idiopathic Generalized Epilepsy and will begin a tough medication. I am still without a job and trying to get unemployment...and yet, I am rejoicing in what I have. God has given me hope and peace and a calm I have never experienced before him. I pray this will come to others who suffer so much more than I do.


  7. While I agree that there was much more than guns involved in the terrible tragedy,it does NOT preclude us from doing sensible things that have been PROVEN to work. No person requires a semi-automatic killing machine

    You can buy any gun you like with no background check online.

  8. Mary, I am not against sensible gun laws, but how would that stop someone from committing mass murder who wanted to? Guns are available on the black market, and if one did not want to use guns, they could make a few bombs. I am not sure that all the gun control talk is not just wanting to make ourselves feel better, but would have no real effect on people who want to kill. Some of those countries the article mentioned already had strict gun laws, and the mass killings still happened. (We have more killings, and we are also a much larger nation. Also, most gun violence in America happens in those inner cities run by… liberals. With strict gun laws.)

    What do you make of stats like this:

    I have lots of friends who have guns, but no one is murdering each other. There has to be more to it, like you said, and I just have no confidence that Columbine or Sandy Hook would not have happened if we passed more laws. Evil people will do evil things, and while laws will work with law abiding types and those afraid of reprisal and jail, will they stop someone who has no concern for their own life or others'? I just don't think so. I wish it were as easy as passing a law, and expecting that sick and evil people will follow it.

    1. Mary, what do you make of this?

  9. Since we're speaking of guns, just a shout out to those middle school boys who found a gun and didn't touch it. Thankfully they learned important lessons in hunter safety class and in Boy Scouts.

    Evil people are not going to worry about laws and ethics. Then we have unethical laws per King Herod.

    The Holy Innocents have been on my mind too. Those parents did not have the perspective of the New Testament that we have today.

    DD, you are an example of finding peace in God. May you and your son be blessed.

    Dear God, please do not leave Malcolm hanging out in the cold there in Russia. May he quickly join his new mama and papa soon.

    May God send comforting arms to Carla and her family.

    May the Holy Spirit strengthen and comfort young Father Luke, Monsignor Weiss, and all the clergy serving the Newtown community. If you think your job is hard . . .

    And while we're praying, let us thank God baby Dominic is able to experience the love of his big brothers and sisters. I've been following his story.

    The Light of Christ will ALWAYS shine. God is the alpha and the omega.

  10. Dear Leila,
    Thank you for your blog. I'm a lurker here - like many others, I'm sure. It's so refreshing to behold sensible Catholic faith in others, considering the times we live in. I do what I can to proclaim the Truth to the world, but it's often such tiring (and lonely) work. Like I spent most of today opposing a Jesuit priest on his Facebook page, where he has been casting Mary as a "revolutionary" in the mould of Jesus, "explaining" the "subversive" (read "feminist") nature of the words of the Magnificat, pushing liberation theology for all he's worth and advocating for socialist style redistribution of wealth under the pretext of that being a Christian "preferential option for the poor." You've heard it all before. But the disheartening thing is that heretics like these have succeeded in garnering so many enthusiastic followers who won't harbor any dissent/correction, comprehensively brainwashed as they have been, by years of imbibing cleverly presented heresies. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to try to shake them out of their delusions, to get them to listen to what the Magisteriun of the Church has to say, but eventually I steel myself and try again. After all, what's the worth of even one soul to Christ, when measured by in terms of drops of His blood? Yeah, it was one of those days today. Then I came to this page and perked up again! So thank you! God bless you and your loved ones always. Oh, and have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

  11. Francis, it's like David and Goliath for sure. I know how it goes, and how it feels. But praise God we know the full story, and truth, goodness and beauty will win in the end. You are right to note that even the salvation of one soul is worth all the suffering. I am glad we are fighting the battle together. Blessed Christmas!

  12. My YouTube page:

    My friend Donna's YouTube channel:
    (I make her videos)

    Maybe you'll find something there to fill you further with God.

  13. Francis, I LOVE Donna Cori Gibson!!!! Ahhhh!!! I have even plugged her on my blog. Her album "That We May Be One" is my favorite of all time! The Anima Christi! The Litany of Loreto! The Magnificat! All of them!

    Tell her I love her! :)

  14. Will do. Consider inviting Donna to perform in your Parish church in 2013. You can contact her via her site My suggestion would be a Sations of the Cross concert during Lent. She had whole church loads of people across the USA in tears with her multimedia presentation of the Stations last year. Christ was able to walk into many hearts broken open for Him! How wonderful!

  15. if you want to know about how to Connect With Your Teen Daughter then I just want to say that, “Our family has been working with Debra for over 2 years. She has provided guidance and facilitated communication for me and my husband to ‘get on the same page’ about parenting a pre-teen/teen, which is no joke. She has also been a trusted confidante and friend to our 11-/13-year old daughter, who has opened up to Debra and enjoys talking to her now, especially when she is upset.


PLEASE, when commenting, do not hit "reply" (which is the thread option). Instead, please put your comment at the bottom of the others.

To ensure that you don't miss any comments, click the "subscribe by email" link, above. If you do not subscribe and a post exceeds 200 comments, you must hit "load more" to get to the rest.