More than 300 faithful gathered for Mass at St. Sebastian Church, Los Angeles to pray for the 129 people who died in Paris Nov. 13.
“We, men and women of good will, are united in the fight for liberty, fraternity and equality in our humanity,” said Father German Sánchez, pastor of St. Sebastian, in his homily. The Mass was celebrated in French.
“We have no reason to fear anyone because Christ is with us and nothing can happen to us,” he added. “We cannot let our head hang low. In this moment we must be united and lift our hears and proclaim that the Gospel and the Spirit of God is with us.”
Flowers were brought forward during the Mass, accompanied by the French and U.S. flags. There are an estimated 40,000 French immigrants who live in Los Angeles.
In interviews with Vida Nueva, Father Sanchez and parishioners said they didn’t understand why terrorist groups would kill in the name of religion.
“He who kills his brother injures the hand of God,” Father Sanchez said. “There are no words to explain how, in the heart of human beings, there is such evil to kill people simply because they don’t share your beliefs.”
He exhorted the faithful not to live in fear and to be ready to proclaim peace, to live in peace and not to hide.
“We pray for peace every Sunday, and that’s why we have to continue to live with joy and faith, with hope while we defend life,” Father Sanchez said. “It doesn’t mater if we’re Catholics, Muslims, atheists — life is sacred.”
Nohemí González of El Monte was killed during the attack. California State University, Long Beach, where she was a student, has hosted memorials for the 23-year-old. She was shot at a restaurant and died en route to the hospital.