Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller sent continued prayers and support to Vancouver’s Jewish community Sunday as they gathered for a candlelight vigil and rally on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
A crowd of more than 1,000 attending the Free the Hostages rally on the steps of the art gallery heard from the Archbishop’s ecumenical and interfaith relations coordinator Deacon Richard Chau.
“We want you to know our community stands with you for justice and peace,” said Deacon Chau on behalf of Archbishop Miller, who remains in Rome until the end of October at the Synod of Bishops on Synodality.
“We stand with you for respect for human life,” the deacon said. “We denounce the murder of innocents and taking of hostages by Hamas.”
He quoted Pope Francis, saying, “terrorism and war do not lead to any solution, but only to the death and suffering of so many innocent people.”
He shared the Pope’s invitation to all people of faith and everyone committed to peace to observe Friday, Oct. 27, as a day of fasting and prayer.
“We join prayers with those of the Jewish community who are mourning the deceased,” said Deacon Chau, who was one of three Christian leaders who addressed the crowd. “We pray for those who are experiencing terror and anguish, especially the hostages, the captives, and we pray for their safety and immediate release.”
He then offered a prayer for people and consolation:
“God of mercy and all consolation, you pursue us with untiring love and dispel the shadow of death with the bright dawn of life.
Look kindly on those who have died in this conflict. May your perpetual light shine on them and grant them eternal rest.
Comfort all your people in their loss and sorrow. Protect the captives and hasten their release.
Be our refuge and our strength, O Lord, and lift us from the depths of grief into the peace and light of your presence.
Enable our communities here in Vancouver to strengthen one another at this time and to press toward that day when, after our earthly course is run, every tear will be wiped away.
In your Holy Name we pray. Amen.”
Many in the crowd chanted “bring them home,” holding large placards of photos of the 210 hostages taken by Hamas. There were also speeches by Vancouver Rabbis Dan Moskovitz of Temple Sholom and Jonathan Infeld of Beth Israel synagogue, as well as from the Jewish Federation of Vancouver.