People expressed the need to gather in community and students looked forward to being in their faith youth groups that evening. It was impressive to see our Catholic Churches, first Holy Angels in Bainbridge and then many others throughout Lake, Cuyahoga, Geauga and Summit counties open up their doors for those who wanted to join in community to pray throughout the week that followed and the mentions of prayer and support from Pastors throughout the diocese through social media posts, street signs and bulletin notices.
Bishop Lennon called to the people of the Diocese of Cleveland to join in a communal action of prayer for healing. It was awesome to see people bring their personal faith and families to church in this way, whether they knew anyone personally in Chardon, or just to be the pillars and pray-ers of our church.
The Youth Group of St. Ambrose created a beautiful video called LEAP, echoing the sentiments of Catholic youth (many of whom had specially called meetings this past week to share their thoughts, feelings and prayers) with a call to the actions of loving, encouraging, accepting, and praying. The pictures in this video demonstrate the bonding and love within the communities gathered. It is in community where our greatest strength, love is shown.
The extended community showed great love and support in the fortress of love that surrounded St. Mary’s church in Chardon for the funeral. At Eucharistic celebrations on Sunday throughout the Diocese of Cleveland people prayed together prayers of intercession for the needs and healing of the Chardon community.
With great faith-filled strength, I watched the witness of the three families reflecting on their lives and the lives of their children from Captain's Stadium. With the grandfather of Danny Parmertor saying “people were drawn to Danny,” and brother Dominic’s expression of love saying “Danny was going to change the world.” I believe Danny has. I loved the personal witness of forgiveness from Demetrius Hewlin’s mother, Phyllis Ferguson, while the mother of Russell King Jr. also paid a loving tribute of her son. All were powerful witnesses to the strength and love of God and others in their lives.
In reflecting and praying throughout this week, and contemplating the events of this week, I sensed a new connectedness in our Catholic community and with the communion of saints as the last few lines of the Nicene Creed were professed at Mass Sunday morning:
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection
of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
It is good that we belong to a loving Catholic community that professes its faith through prayer and with open hearts in love, mercy, and action.