April 7, 2009
An Open Letter to the People of Binghamton:
I write to all of you to extend my deepest sympathies for the tragedy you experienced as a community at the American Civic Association last Friday. My prayers are with the victims, their families and the Binghamton Community as a whole.
As I witnessed the events unfold, I was struck by the strength of the people of Binghamton. It comes as no shock to me that when confronted with pain and tragedy, you came together to support those directly affected by this senseless act of violence. Priests, Ministers, Rabbis, Imams, and faith communities as a whole, lock arms to pray and to protect the community from further harm. Police and human services agencies including our own Catholic Charities must be commended for their immediate action. We will continue to question why this event took place and we may never learn the true answer. But we must find solace and strength in the fact that God is present to all of us today and always. Let us pray especially for the repose of the souls of those who were killed: Parveen Nin Ali, Dolores Yigal, Marc Henry Bernard, Maria Sonia Bernard, Li Guo, Hong Xiu Mao, Lan Ho, Hai Hong Zhong, Maria Zobniw, Roberta King, Almir O. Alves, Jiang Ling, Layla Khalil, and Jiverly Wong.
Allow me to also share with you a note I just received from the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People in the Vatican:
“Superiors and officials of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant people have been shocked by the shooting in the Immigration Centre at Binghamton that has caused the death to 14 immigrants and injuries to several others. We join you, your diocese and all people of good will in prayer for the souls of the deceased and for quick recovery of the injured. We ask the merciful God to help the American Society to identify and root out the cause of such frequent occurrences in the country and to build up a nation where human life, dignity and the rights of all, including immigrants, are really respected. We ask Your Excellency to convey our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and our sympathy to all those who have been affected by this tragedy. May Mary, the Queen of Peace, obtain for the Pastoral agents in your diocese the ability to console those in grief and help the society to go forward in the path of forgiveness, reconciliation and harmonious co-existence.” Most Rev. Agostino Marchetto, Archbishop Secretary
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Rev. James M. Moynihan
Bishop of Syracuse