One of the responsibilities of my work is to prepare the Universal Prayer, or the Prayer of the Faithful, for the parish community.  Often, I compile intercessions from different resources, including the Roman Missal; other times I compose my own prayers based on the needs of the community.  This week, there are two prayers that I felt were important intentions:

For our President, that he may work for justice and protect the rights of every human being, and that our country may be a safe haven for all.

For those who were killed this week in Florida, and for all victims of gun violence, that we may promote unity in seeking to build a society marked by peace and eliminate tragedies caused by senseless gun violence.

This Monday, of course, is Presidents’ Day.  We need to pray for our elected officials, regardless of whether we voted for them or whether we agree with them or not.

Words escape me as I think about the tragedy that took place on Wednesday in Florida.  While prayer is not the only thing we can do, it should hold pride of place.  The shootings that take place in schools, churches, and other public areas are mind-boggling and evoke sadness and anger.  Why do they happen?  How do we prevent them from happening again?  How many more tragedies will it take for our elected officials to take real action?