.- Bishop Anthony M. Pilla, shepherd of the Catholic Church in northeast Ohio, honored slain members of an Ohio-based batallion serving in Iraq during a special Mass Sunday during which he urged faithful to "Pray that the world can learn to resolve its conflicts in peaceful ways."
Some 100 people turned out for the noontime Mass at Cleveland's St. John's Cathedral, where the bishop offered prayers for family of the soldiers and for the community: "You talk about war as an abstract thing until all of a sudden it touches you. It's your husband, your brother, your son, your neighbor. It seems like the war over there. All of a sudden, it's the war over here."
The Cleveland Plain Dealer quoted the Cathedral's Rev. Edward T. Estok Jr., who said that
the Ohio Marines's bravery should be an inspiratin to the community.
He praised "the valor and heroism of these young people," adding that, "Theirs is a high calling: to lay down their lives for those they love."
Bishop Pilla praised the soldiers for fighting "in the cause of freedom, justice and peace." He reiterated however, the Church's call to seek justice without violence.
In a letter to members of the diocese, Bishop Pilla wrote this weekend "Let us implore Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, to bring an end to violence, war and hatred around the world."