From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Diocesan parishes host vigils to witness against planned execution of McVeigh

the Inland Register

(From the May 3, 2001 edition of the Inland Register

Several Catholic parishes around the Spokane Diocese will hold vigils on Tuesday, May 15, to witness against the planned federal execution of Timothy McVeigh early the following morning.

St. Augustine Parish, on the corner of 19th and Bernard in Spokane, will begin a vigil at 7 p.m., followed by an open forum and discussion about capital punishment at the parish center.

St. Paschal Parish, 2523 N. Park Rd. in the Spokane Valley, will hold a prayer vigil at 9 p.m.

In Pullman, Sacred Heart Parish, 440 N.E. Ash St., will invite parishioners to a 7 p.m. vigil.

Colville’s Immaculate Conception Parish in Colville will mark the event with prayer and education on Catholic Social Teaching about the death penalty.

All vigils are open to the public.

Also in Spokane, the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS) will hold a vigil at the U.S. court house in downtown Spokane, beginning at 5 p.m. Afterward, that group will join those gathered at St. Augustine Parish.

All pastors in the diocese will be asked to toll their church bells at 9 p.m. on May 15 to signal sorrow for all victims of violence and our hope and respect for life.

McVeigh is scheduled to be executed the morning of May 16 in the Federal death chamber in Terre Haute, Ind., for his part in the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people in April, 1995.

The vigils will provide an opportunity to reflect on the sacred nature of each individual life.

The U.S. Catholic Bishops’ 1980 Statement on Capital Punishment instructs that “Abolition of capital punishment is ... a manifestation of our belief in the unique worth and dignity of each person from the moment of conception, a creature made in the image and likeness of God.” It continues: “We believe that abolition of the death penalty is most consonant with the example of Jesus, who both taught and practiced the forgiveness of injustice and who came ‘to give life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45).”

The vigils are also a witness to the evidence that capital punishment perpetuates the cycle of violence it seeks to stop, is applied disproportionately to racial minorities, harms the innocent who have been unfairly convicted as well as the mentally incompetent, and is neither cost-effective nor a deterrent to crime.


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