When we have no words

orlandoLately, it seems this country has been saturated with confusion, anger and division.  We are a nation on edge, a people searching for meaning and security, and quick to blame each other for all of the problems we face or that seem to loom on the horizon, threatening what is important to us. And the threats are real, the problems are real.

The events of this past week added grief and fear to that confusion, and are difficult to understand without landing helplessly at the feet of Mercy.

The paradox is that in a week where fear and ideologies violently divided us, the Cross has a quiet triumph.

Grief unites us as we weep for 49 people killed Saturday evening at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  Sons, daughters, friends, strangers.  In death all of the things that divided ‘us and them’ fall away.  We all grieve the loss of brothers and sisters.  We look at their pictures and see the eyes of beloved children of God.  We face a mystery. We deeply recognize and resonate with people who in many ways may not have lived “like us” but are more “like us” than we realized before we were faced with their mortality.

We have no choice but to grieve, and to ponder. Like Mary, we ponder this week in our hearts.  49 people killed by a man who ultimately also died.  All Mary’s children, our brothers and sisters, beloved by Mercy himself.

When we have no words or cogent thoughts to make sense of the violence and death of 50 people in Orlando Saturday night, our mother quietly gives us a way to grapple with the tragedy. The 50 beads of the rosary. One for each person that died that night.  Not knowing what to say, or what to pray, or what this week shows us about ourselves, we can repeat with the rhythm of her heartbeat, “Hail Mary…” for each person.

With each prayer we become more peaceful, we come a bit closer together and we find our security in the heart of Christ.

Here are the names of the 50 people who died in the terror attack in Orlando, including the killer himself.  Praying for someone by name is very powerful. God himself tells us that he has each of our names carved on his hand.  Joining our prayer to Mary’s, we can pray for each of their souls, weep for their loss, beg for forgiveness, for our healing as a country and open ourselves to faith, hope and love.

We can look together to God’s plan for the future of this divided country, and let the paradox of the cross use the violent events of the week to unite us a little more, make us a little more loving, and have more peace than we did a week ago.

May God use this week to bring us a step closer to himself, to each other, to what is right and true and good. May it strengthen us in our love and compassion, and in our resolve to protect the value of human life and all that is true and beautiful in this country.

I invite you to join me this week in praying a rosary, a Hail Mary for each person by name.


Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

Omar Mateen, 29 years old

About Kerrie Rivard

Originally from Canada, Kerrie, Paul and their 6 children now live in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. Kerrie studied Education, majoring in English literature and history at the University of Alberta, and now works in communications and leadership training for the Regnum Christi Movement. She is passionate about helping others to know the love of Christ and experience the joy of living their God-given mission. Reading is a fatal addiction for Kerrie, and her favorite books include Ralph Martin’s “The Fulfillment of All Desire” and Sigrid Undset's "Kristin Lavransdatter". Kerrie considers dark chocolate a sign of God’s love for her, and her favorite places are a nice white-sand beach with her family, and being in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
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One Response to When we have no words

  1. Rosanne Petersen says:

    Powerful. Thank you.

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