Pope Francis has sent condolences to Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller following the deadly massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday.
His message was conveyed by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
“Deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of senseless violence perpetrated at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, the Holy Father asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the wounded, to the members of the congregation, and to the entire local community,” said Parolin.
“He asks our Lord Jesus Christ to console all who mourn and to grant them the spiritual strength that triumphs over violence and hatred by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love.”
On Sunday, a 26-year-old gunman, Devin Patrick Kelley, entered into a Texas church service and wreaked havoc on the congregation with an AR-15 automatic weapon, killing 26 people.
In response to the shooting, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. bishops’ conference, said “We must come to the firm determination that there is a fundamental problem in our society. A Culture of Life cannot tolerate, and must prevent, senseless gun violence in all its forms.”
Garcia-Silver has been a vocal figure since the shooting, expressing both his solidarity and prayer for Sutherland Springs and also calling for an end to gun violence.
“We need to be ambassadors of peace. No war, no violence, no guns,” he tweeted on Sunday.
Speaking at an event at the University of Chicago on Monday, Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich said “It is important to do mourning, and support, and expressions of outrage, but then we also need to tell ourselves that that’s not enough.
“We need to take action. We need to make sure our legislator knows that we need to enact laws that ban these high-power weapons,” said Cupich.