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Irish-born Bishop of Dallas appeals for peace in wake of shootings

By Sarah Mac Donald - 10 July, 2016

Bishop Kevin Farrell

The Irish-born Bishop of Dallas has appealed for an end to violence following Thursday night’s shootings in his city which left five police officers dead and another seven policemen injured as well as wounding two civilians.

In a statement, Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas prayed for dialogue and reconciliation and warned “Violence cannot be overcome with violence. Violence is overcome with peace.”

The Texan-based bishop described the magnitude of the violence in Dallas city centre on Thursday night as “staggering.”

“Our first concern is for the families who have lost loved ones in this tragic attack,” Bishop Farrell stated and added “all lives matter, whether they be black, white, Muslim, Christian, Hindu. We are all children of God and all human life is precious.”

The five police officers were killed and seven other officers and two civilians were wounded in a deadly spate of gunfire at the conclusion of a peaceful march protesting recent killings of two African American men by police in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis.

The sniper, 25 year old Micah Xavier Johnson, was killed by police on Thursday. He had served in the army reserve for six years before he was discharged over allegations of sexual harassment of another female member of the army while on tour in Afghanistan in 2014.

“We pray for consolation and healing for both the families and those killed and wounded. We are reminded of the ever-present danger to those who are dedicated to protecting us,” Bishop Farrell said.

He also emphasised, “We have been swept up in the escalating cycle of violence that has now touched us intimately as it has others throughout our country and the world. All lives matter: black, white, Muslim, Christian, Hindu. We are all children of God and all human life is precious.”

Elsewhere in his statement, Bishop Farrell said, “We cannot lose respect for each other and we call upon all of our civic leaders to speak to one another and work together to come to a sensible resolution to this escalating violence. Let us implore God our Heavenly Father to touch the minds and hearts of all people to work together for peace and understanding.”

“Let us recall the words of Pope Francis, ‘May the God of peace arouse in all an authentic desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence cannot be overcome with violence. Violence is overcome with peace.’”

According to CNS, one of the officers killed was 55 year old Sgt Michael J. Smith. The former US Army Ranger and his wife Heidi and their two daughters, Victoria and Caroline, are part of the Mary Immaculate Catholic Church community north of Dallas, while Heidi Smith is a teacher at Mary Immaculate Catholic School.

Fr Michael Forge of Mary Immaculate Catholic Church appealed to parishioners to “pull together in prayer and support for the Smith family, as well as the other officers’ families who were killed.”

Bishop Farrell presided at a Mass for peace and healing at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe on Saturday.

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