What does the South Carolina shooting mean to churches?

What does the South Carolina shooting mean to churches?
The cross (as well as other statues at St. Therese) was a gift from Al Capone's mother when the parish was Santa Maria Incoronata.

What does the South Carolina shooting mean to churches?  Does it mean we have to have metal detectors at the doors?  Will we have to have ushers frisk people as they enter our churches?  Do we have to be afraid to greet strangers?

Churches tend to be welcoming.  At St. Therese Chinese Catholic Church, we have a lot of visitors because of it’s location in the heart of Chinatown.  People from all over the world come in, browse around and take pictures.

On Saturdays, when our choir is practicing, we sometimes stop and greet those visitors.  If we aren’t practicing, we walk up to them and say hello, give them a brief history and ask them to stay for Mass.

Now I wonder if I should be suspicious of all who enter our church.  Should I be suspicious of the stranger with a backpack?  Should I be suspicious of the person lingering in the foyer?  Should I wonder if the person in the back of church pacing back and forth is a threat?  Should I be suspicious of a person I’ve just greeted and then turned my back on?  Should I be suspicious of the person who requests to see a priest?

The biggest tragedy of the South Carolina shooting (in my opinion), was the fact that the shooter sat and prayed with the people before he decided to open fire.  It broke my heart that the people of Emanuel African Methodist AME Church welcomed the shooter, shared God’s Word with him and prayed with him with God’s love in their hearts, only to be senselessly murdered!

What does the South Carolina shooting mean to churches?  It means we have to trust God to protect His people in His houses.  It means we have to pray for those who would think to do such things.  It means we have to keep the faith.

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