Knights of Columbus launch novena for peace in response to US shootings

GettyImages 545545648 A man leaves a note at a makeshift memorial honoring the five police officers killed in a July 7 shooting in Dallas, Texas. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

In the wake of violence across the nation this week, the Knights of Columbus have issued a campaign encouraging people to join them in praying for peace. 

"The violent episodes of the past week have shocked the conscience of our country," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. 

On July 7, five Dallas police officers were killed in what authorities called a "sniper ambush" at the end of a peaceful protest against police shootings of African Americans earlier in the week.

Two days earlier, Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was shot and killed after an encounter with police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

The following day, Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man, was shot and killed during a traffic stop for a broken tail light in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. His fiancée, Diamond Reynolds, livestreamed the aftermath on Facebook as her four-year-old daughter sat in the car's back seat. 

In a July 9 announcement, Anderson invited Knights, their families, and all people of goodwill to join in praying a novena for peace by praying St. Francis of Assisi's "Prayer for Peace" from July 14 to 22. 

"Through this prayer, each of us has the opportunity to help transcend hatred and violence by personally committing to the concepts of love of neighbor, peace and forgiveness that are central to an authentic embrace of Christianity," he said.

"It is our hope that, from coast to coast, those who pray this prayer will become true instruments of peace."

Supreme Chaplain of the Knights, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, also encouraged people to join in prayer for "an end to violence and senseless killings."

"Through our prayers and good works, may we help build a society that is merciful, just, and peaceful." 

St. Francis of Assisi's prayer for peace can be found below: 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

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