Do you see this young priest? His name is Fr. Luke Suarez, and I went to college with him. And when I saw this photo, I had to do a triple take, to make sure it was him, because, my friends, he always had a smile on his face -- and this is a face transformed by grief and the weight of duty.
Father Luke Suarez, is a priest assigned to St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, CT. The church and parochial school is down the road from Sandy Hook Elementary. Seven of his CCD students were killed last Friday. Father Luke, and Msgr. Robert Weiss were at the fire house within ten minutes of the shooting; receiving the parents of the victims.
A friend of Fr. Luke's posted on Catholic Vote with a plea for the support of prayers for Fr. Luke and Msgr. Weiss:
Father Luke has an impossible task before him. His diocese is without a bishop right now…. Monsignor … is personally devastated by the losses. The parish is very large…. The rectory has received serious threats, and as my brother gave the homily Sunday at the noon mass, the church had to be evacuated by SWAT teams.
All he asks for is prayer. I have been wracking my brain, trying to think of a way that our beautiful, loving community could tangibly reach out to Father Luke, Monsignor Weiss, and the St. Rose parish, to support them in this most awful of times. I have sent many prayer requests, and I am asking for more prayers again. But I also want to ask everyone to search their hearts, and if the Holy Spirit moves you, please consider sending one of your family’s Christmas cards to the rectory, with a few words of love and encouragement. Here is his address:
Father Luke Suarez
46 Church Hill Road
Newtown, CT 06470
My brother has said over and over again that without the prayer support he is receiving, he could not keep going. And this week is only the beginning. Everyone there is still in shock. Their peaceful home has been desecrated by violence. They will need to live with this sorrow forever.
But in our weakness is His strength. Grace abounds. Can you help me carry him through this time of trial?
Will you join me in sending a Christmas card to Msgr. Weiss and Fr. Luke, and in saying a prayer for them today, as they continue to minister to the people of Newtown, who are dealing with such unspeakable grief.