How Can We Respond to Tragedy?
After the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, we are left asking again: How do we, particularly as Catholics, respond to tragedy? And how do we help children deal with the feelings they may have—fear, anger, or sadness? In “Peace in Hard Times: A lesson for families,” CATECHIST’s Susie Lloyd writes, “Give your children a reliance on God in good times, and they will turn to him in bad times.… Teach your children kindness in the home. Pray with them every night. Then, when times get tough, which they do in every life, your children will know that God is there always, holding them in the palm of his hand.”
We cannot promise children that nothing bad will ever happen; we can remind them, however, of all the grownups who love them and work to keep them safe. It can be a calming exercise to list all of these people aloud together, including parents, older siblings, teachers, and police officers. Adults may also need comfort.
We recommend these resources for parish leaders, catechists, teachers, and parents:
- A Prayer for Times of Trouble or Sadness, suitable for children, groups, and families.
- Children need to process their feelings, and prayer is always a good place to start. Pray Psalm 121.
- Parish and school leaders need spiritual emergency preparedness. On her book, The Parish Emergency Kit: responding with compassion when tragedy strikes, Kathy Hendricks provides suggestions when bad news strikes a community.
Most holy and most merciful God, strength of the weak, rest of the weary, comfort of the sorrowful, savior of the sinful, our refuge in every time of need: grant us strength and protect us; support us in all dangers and carry us through trials. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Author: Erika De Urquidi