In his message to the faithful of the Archdiocese, Archbishop Christian Lépine says we will not succumb to fear and hatred.

Dear Faithful of the Archdiocese of Montreal,

We are all shaken by the attack on a mosque in Quebec City that killed and injured innocent people. We pray for the victims, their families, and the Muslim community, as well as for the entire diocesan community in Quebec City and for the population as a whole. We all want to work toward building peaceful relations, based on mutual respect. Whatever our differences, we are all human beings and share the same humanity; we are all brothers and sisters in humanity.

This tragic attack follows on the heels of other attacks around the world, spurred by waves of fear and of hatred. Are we going to allow ourselves to be overtaken by fear and hatred? The answer from the depths of our souls is NO. Let's ask God to keep us ever respectful - a respect that sees the dignity in every human being - to keep us ever compassionate - a compassion that seeks peace and justice for every person.

Let us learn to overcome tragedy by working to build supportive, peaceful relationships. When individuals or groups resort to criminal behaviour, we must resist the temptation to generalize and must not attribute to entire communities the horrific gestures undertaken by a few. Keeping the peace has its place, but what takes priority is our pursuit of building a civilization of authentic encounter, where we learn to overcome prejudices and develop mutual esteem.

I urge all pastors, parishes and Christian communities to unite in communal prayer all week, in union with the crucified and risen Jesus, bringing to Him all the victims, their devastated families, the Muslim community, and the terribly shaken population in Quebec City and throughout Canada.

Let us pray for the law enforcement agencies and for the civil, municipal, provincial and federal authorities, so that they may work together in calling for calm and respect so as to ensure a climate of safety.

On Sunday, the Word of God spoke of the Beatitudes that call us to poverty of spirit, to be kind and to be peacemakers.

I invoke Our Lady of Sorrows, so that through her intercession, our Lord Jesus may provide balm for those whose hearts are enduring the unbearable.   

+Christian Lépine
Archbishop of Montreal
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