FROM 2001: Bishop Gaydos calls for prayers

“God isn’t finished helping,” says Fr. Elskamp


From Page 1 of the Sept. 14, 2001, edition of The Catholic Missourian:

Bishop John R. Gaydos, writing from Washington, D.C., has called upon the entire Diocese of Jefferson City to pray at this weekend’s Sunday Masses for all the dead, wounded and missing and their families as a result of Tuesday’s terrorist attacks.

“This is a time of shock and sorrow for us all,” he wrote in a statement to priests, pastoral administrators, deacons, religious brothers and sisters, and diocesan staff. “I encourage all to pray for peace. For those who are suffering now because of the tragic events of this morning, we know that Christ is the one who can help them during this difficult time. Please keep all of these people in your prayers.”

He noted that he and his brother bishops gathered in Washington, D.C., for an administrative board meeting offered the Eucharist at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

In Jefferson City, Father Fred Elskamp, rector of the Cathedral of St. Joseph parish, presided at a prayer service attended mostly by students of Cathedral of St. Joseph School.

“We’re here just for a short time to offer our prayers,” he said. “We pray for peace, for God’s comfort, because Jesus is present.

“Fear is okay,” he said. “We have to admit that we are afraid of things, and we need to face facts that there are things to be afraid of. There is evil in the world. There is sin in the world.

“If God can make us holy, then we are delivered from evil,” he said. “Evil is real. Evil happens again. But good things always happen. God is in charge. God’s mercy is God’s gift.”

Fr. Elskamp quoted a Christmas message from Pope John XXIII: “There will be no peace anywhere in the world unless it is a reflection of the inner peace that lives in our hearts.”

“God isn’t finished helping all the people who are suffering directly or indirectly from this tragedy,” said Fr. Elskamp. “We pray for peace, peace everywhere, including in our hearts. May we put on the mind of Christ and live in peace.”