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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Do not let hate, violence ‘have the last word,’ says Las Vegas bishop

At an emotional interfaith prayer service at Guardian Angel Cathedral, Las Vegas, Bishop Joseph A. Pepe told those filling the pews on 2nd October that “in the face of tragedy we need each other.”

“And in the face of violence we stand together because we cannot let hate and violence have the last word,” he said in his remarks at the evening service.

“We gather from all faiths and walks of life. We pray and sing and listen to the word of God to remind ourselves that amidst this tragedy God is with us,” Bishop Pepe said. “God cries with our tears.”

The service at the cathedral brought people together as they were still trying to fathom what had occurred barely 24 hours earlier: A crazed gunman, later identified by law enforcement officials as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, showered a crowd of about 22,000 attending a country music festival in a venue on the Las Vegas Strip the evening of 1st October.

From his perch in a room high on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino resort hotel, he fired off hundreds of rounds of bullets down on the crowd below, ultimately leaving at least 59 people dead and more than 500 injured. It is the worst mass shooting in modern US history.

Picture: A church is seen on 2nd October on the Las Vegas Strip near the location of a mass shooting that took place late on 1st October. A gunman perched in a room on the 32nd floor of a casino hotel unleashed a shower of bullets on an outdoor country music festival below, killing at least 59 people and wounding another 527. (CNS photo/Mike Blake, Reuters).