At one point during the synagogue hostage situation in Colleyville, Texas, on January 15, interfaith leaders stationed at a Catholic church began a theological discussion about why bad things happen to good people. Source: Crux.
The togetherness that took place in the Good Shepherd Catholic Community Church that day between leaders of the Jewish, Islamic, Christian and Catholic communities – praying alongside one another and supporting each other for about 12 hours – was a positive takeaway from a tragic situation, according to Fr Michael Higgins.
“We really need to recognise our commonality and stop being so angry and tied up with things that divide us but concentrate more on the thing that unites us – our common belief in God,” Fr Higgins told Crux.
The four hostages at Congregation Beth Israel escaped after a 10-hour standoff between the gunman and police. The hostage-taker was 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram, who was killed by law enforcement agents after the hostages escaped.
The involvement of Fr Higgins and the Good Shepherd Catholic community began just before 12pm, when law enforcement agents asked if he could provide a safe space for family members of the hostages. Fr Higgins gave them a private space in the church hall, which is less than a kilometre from the synagogue. Interfaith leaders came and went throughout the day, parish staff came in to handle the phones, and many people dropped off meals for the families.
“The feeling here was these are our neighbours,” Fr Higgins said. “We were just trying to be present with [the families]. Give them the space that they need to support one another and then be here for any personal needs that they have.”
Catholic parish helped families of hostages during Texas synagogue standoff (By John Lavenburg, Crux)