What the hell is WRONG with these people? – UPDATE

If you ever doubted that there is a battle going on all around us — a true battle — between good and evil, and that that battle engages every single one of us whether we are aware of it or not, the events of the past week really ought to clarify that point for everyone.

In the face of the unspeakable evil of the slaughter of children, good broke through, and the stories are legion — good people of all faiths and of no faith at all have moved with generosity and concern to do whatever small acts of kindness they can, for the people of Newtown and also for the world, in general. The good has broken through the evil, counterbalancing the evil and and good is saying that it will not allow evil to win. We have seen this up-close-and-personally with the tremendous outpouring of toys you folks have generously sent to New Jersey, when all you needed to hear was “there are kids in need.”

The goodness is so heartening that when you read something like this — the harassment of priests who are trying to minister to grieving families — you just have to ask, as we have before, what the hell is wrong with people?

Do you remember this picture, of these priests, Monsignor Robert Weiss and Father Luke Suarez, at the scene of carnage in Newtown?

Well, while I’m sure both priests are seeing some hate it seems the young Father Suarez, who is not two years a priest, is being targeted by creatures who enthralled to the ugly and the dark. Writes his sister, in an outreach. All emphasis mine:

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 read stuff like this and I think of Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction telling Tim Roth, “I am the tyranny of evil men, but I’m trying, Ringo, I’m trying real hard to be a shepherd.”

I’m putting cards in the mail to both priests — what a good idea — and also remembering them in my prayers. Will you, too? We forget sometimes that aside from those families directly impacted by the violence, all the people who serve them — ministers, first responders, medical personal, even the funeral support — need prayers, too. And prayer is the most subversive of powers. It knocks the hell out of things!

UPDATE: In comments section, Klaire shares a way to have a mass said for these priests. Also, while making a small donation for altar flowers for this adoration chapel, you can ask for the remembrance of intentions.

Tom Crowe, who was in seminary for a year with Fr. Suarez writes: He is one of the gentlest and most generous souls I’ve known.

Deacon Greg provides a useful prayer for priests.

Melissa Clouthier: What we can and cannot do about Newtown.

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • Father Joseph Leppard, SJ

    My heart bleeds for this young priest. I am sure he is going through a great deal of angst and prayerfully he has been dealing with it very well. I am dropping him a short note this afternoon.

    Father Joseph Leppard, SJ

  • Klaire

    I’ve been especially struck by the attacks at St. Lima, enough to interrupt and or cancel the Holy Mass. This leaves no doubt of the evil one at work. Michael Savage has reported that the killer was a Satanist. If true, that explains a lot, especially the attack on innocent children and the continued attack on the Eucharist and or our Dear Catholic Priests.

    Here is a great and easy place to order masses if anyone would like to have a mass said for either or both of the priests at St. Lima. The $5 donation also helps the missions very much. Unlike having them said at our local parish, there is only a 3 day wait to have the masses said. They will also send a card for an additional dollar.


  • Klaire

    p.s. If you use the above link, just hit the “have a mass said” button on the left (green box).

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  • Gail Finke

    Why are people threatening the church and the priests? Is it because the shooter and his mother were both parishioners? I read that in a news story, although it hasn’t been in anything else I’ve read. Or is it some other stated reason?

  • CJ

    What else concrete can we do?

    Pray. Especially the Mass and especially the Holy Rosary.

    When I saw this notice, and prayed to God to give me something “concrete to do”, the following came into my mind which I will share with your for your discernment and possible support….

    “Rosary for Holy Innocents”
    Friday, December 28, 2012
    Feast of the Holy Innocents
    Parishes and families and individuals
    encouraged to pray the Holy Rosary
    for all children meeting early death

    May God bless the world, He is!

  • Victor

    (((“I am the tyranny of evil men, but I’m trying, Ringo, I’m trying real hard to be a shepherd.”)))

    Anchoress! After having read what you’ve written and having followed many links here, I’m again reminded of what a good priest once told me, that in every thing bad there’s always something good that comes out of “IT” but we must sometimes look long and deep before we find “IT”.

    Victor! Victor! Victor! We your 92% cells gods are the only true gods in this world and to show ya that we mean business, there will be a meteor striking your earth tonight at midnight called “THE WAY “IT” IS” and only your so called GOD (Good Old Dad) will be able to stop “IT” so don’t say that we gods did not warn ya first? :(

    I hear ya folks! All this kindness is really hurting sinner vic right NOW!? :)


    Go Figure!


  • http://tinyurl.com/cxgreq4 Arland

    It’s times like this that we must turn to the Eucharist. Roland Millare’s recent article is truly inspiring in this regard: http://tinyurl.com/cxgreq4

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    I am sending two cards out to the pastor and Father Luke. I also saw the deacon from the parish on some news clips. Can someone provide his name. A deacon in a parish like St. Rose of Lima is likely someone born and raised in the community and someone who has deep and long ties to some of the parish families. He may be more personally hurting than any others on the parish staff. And he may be more personally connected through children and grandchildren who may have been classmates of the victims.

    [I believe his name is Deacon Richard Scinto - admin]

  • antmcos

    There is a third priest at St Rose of Lima, Fr Ignatio Ortigas. Here’s a link to their staff site.

  • Mike Purnell

    “Prayer knocks the hell out of things.” I like that.

  • Mike Purnell

    A teen told me once at a graduation ceremony, “Prayer is not the least you can do for another.”

  • TeaPot562

    @Victor: Did you know that your name is in the first line of the Univ. of Michigan Fight Song?
    (Hail to the Victors Valiant . . .”
    Visit Ann Arbor any Saturday when they are at home during the Fall to hear it.

  • Deacon Rick Scinto

    Dear Anchoress and Deacon John,
    Your kind, supportive and prayerful words are most appreciated. I’ve had the great honor and privledge to serve with pastor Msgr Bob Weiss and his associate Fr Luke Suarez since being ordained this past June to the permanent diaconate. Joined by our other vicar Fr Ignatio Ortigas, the three of them ministered in a most heroic way to the families and community Dec 14. It was only later on when I was able to talk to them privately did I understand the magnitude of their efforts and the deep impact they made in their consoling and comfort. Upon hearing the news I left work around noon and went directly to St Rose, where I opned up and preceded to minister to the dazed and confused as they came in to pray, grieve, and wonder aloud why this would happen to our beautiful town. More times than I wish I could only answer “I don’t know”, but it was a source of great comfort to myself as well as to our parish that we were able to “not know” together. Our parish of St Rose has been rightly described as a vibrant, dynamic, and close-knit community; for the world is now seeing what we already know. Our pastor Msgr Weiss has done an outstanding job in is his mission as shepherd, going all this past week “26-7″ to tend to the parish as well as the community on a whole. Volunteer K of C members from around the country have offered assistance and prayers at a level that could not be praised enough through words. Simply put, the out-pouring from the world at large has been astounding- with resource, material, and above all deeply sincere prayers flooding in to help us here in Newtown. Our efforts as clergy have been called heroic, especially this week as we buried seven children and one adult. But I’m sure that none of us, including our other two deacons, Norm Roos and Dan O’Connor, will take credit for anything extraordinary; we are simply doing what The Lord has called each of us to do. It is as Msgr Weiss said to me once, “what we signed up for”. I’m beyond blessed to be associated with these five outstanding men, and this incredible parish, and with your continued prayers and support we will overcome this horrible Darkness that has overcast our skies.

  • Linus

    I don’t understand why they would be a target of hate?

  • http://abbey-roads.blogspot.com/ Terry

    I simply do not understand why they would be the target of such hate.