Archbishop José H. Gomez joined the Thousand Oaks community Nov. 8 in prayer for the victims of the shooting and their families.
Following is the text, as prepared, of the remarks he shared at Saint Paschal Baylon Parish in Thousand Oaks.
My dear brothers and sisters,
This has been a beautiful service. I am almost without words. I am touched and grateful for this chance to pray with you.
I bring with me tonight the prayers of the whole family of God here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
We are all so sad in the face of a violence that just makes no sense.
We open our hearts to the families and friends of those who were killed, and we try as best we can to share their grief with them.
The hurt they are suffering, we can never really know. What they have lost, we cannot return to them.
But we can walk with them. We can help them to find healing and hope. We can help them to discover the love of Jesus, even in this dark time.
Jesus never asks us to carry our burdens alone. Where we walk, Jesus goes with us — even through the dark valleys of sorrow, suffering and doubt.
And he cries with us. Just like he wept for Lazarus in the Gospels.
God does not want any of his children to suffer evil. Why these tragedies happen — we will never know, on this side of eternity.
What we do know — is that God’s love for every one of us is stronger than any evil, stronger even than death.
Jesus is near to us now in our sadness. Let us take his hand tonight and let him lead us.
He will turn our mourning into joy. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. He will give us gladness in the place of sorrow.
So tonight, let us ask our Lord for the faith and strength — to reach out to our brothers and sisters who are suffering.
Let us honor the memory of those who have fallen — by living our lives with greater intensity and purpose and with greater love for one another.
May our Lord in his mercy, receive the souls of those who have died, and may he comfort those of us who have been spared.
We pray for peace in our communities and for peace in the hearts of all those who are troubled and disturbed.
And may our Blessed Mother Mary, who knows the sorrow of losing her only Son, help us to find light in this darkness and bring new life out of this death.
God bless you and your families and grant you peace.