Bishop Michael Barber, SJ, of the Diocese of Oakland, has issued the following statement regarding the war in Israel and Gaza and its impact on the Diocese of Oakland, which is Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

“I am deeply sorrowful about what is happening in Israel and Palestine, and how it is immediately affecting our community here in Oakland.

“It seems fear and hatred know no boundaries. The suffering being inflicted upon children and other innocent people, their families and their loved ones, weighs heavily on my heart. No child should suffer the horrors of war, nor should any parent fear for their child’s life and safety because of violence by others. The taking hostage of innocent civilians is never justified.

“We know a better way forward, one built upon Christian love, in union with all people. Our God holds every human in tender mercy and care. We should do no less.

“Terrorism, extremism and violence provide no solution, but only beget more suffering. Senseless vandalism, like the destruction of the Menorah at Lake Merritt, adds to the chaos and tears at our capacity to heal. May each one of us work earnestly to find ways to build bridges, heal wounds and bring compassion into our communities. By doing so, we can contribute to building peace and resolving conflict.

“Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.”

From the Diocese of Oakland