SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish in Springfield hosted a prayer vigil Wednesday night in response to recent violence in Springfield.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish is taking a stand against the recent surge in violence that has affected not only Springfield but also other communities across western Massachusetts.
On Wednesday, a prayer vigil and a candlelight procession brought the community together in solidarity. The parish gathered individuals from all walks of life to join in prayer and reflection, because as they see it, prayer can make good in such a dark time.
Springfield Bishop William D. Byrne told 22News, “People in times of great loss are lost in the dark and so those of us around can come and take their hand and say you’re not alone we can’t heal a wound but we can surround you with love.”
When Victor Nieves of Springfield shot and killed 52-year-old Kim Fairbanks, her 10-year-old granddaughter, and wounded her 12-year-old granddaughter the church knew they had to do something and here- hundreds came to uplift that family.
“I think as Catholics that in time did great joy and also in times of tragedy we go to our lord and we pray and this is an opportunity to invite the wider community, and it’s not just about non-violence, it’s really about asking our lord to impart peace in our hearts in our families and in our communities as well,” said Carolee McGrath, Diocese of Springfield Assistant Director of Communications.
McGrath continued by saying that as Catholics, in times of need and tragedy, we go to our lord and we ask him to be with us, and this vigil will help them invite others who might not share their faith to stand together.
Many see legislative change as a necessary to decrease violence but the parish here also sees the vigil as a way to heal and support the effected communities. “All of the political solutions, we don’t know how all of those will work out. So, the gap between us not knowing and where we can go you got to go to prayer you have to say god help us in this moment,” says Father Ryan Rooney.
That shooting on Berkshire Ave brought the city of Springfield to 24 homicides already this year, marking a resurgence to pre-pandemic numbers.