Bishop offers prayers for Orlando shooting victims and families

People hold hands in a circle during a June 12 vigil in an Orlando, Fla., park following a mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in that city earlier that morning. (CNS photo/Carlo Allegri, Reuters) See ORLANDO-SHOOTING-TRAGEDY and POPE-ORLANDO June 13, 2016.

CHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone expressed his shock at the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., on June 12 and offered prayers for the families of the victims.

“The recent massacre that took place in Orlando is another instance of a horrible tragedy inspired by a sense of hate that seems so prevalent in our world today,” Bishop Guglielmone said in a statement.

A lone gunman, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group, killed 49 people early Sunday at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, according to Catholic News Service report. Another 53 people were injured before the gunman, identified as 29-year-old Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, was killed by members of a police SWAT team.

Police said Mateen, a private security guard, legally purchased the two guns he used in the shooting, which is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, CNS reported.

The shooting happened close to the anniversary of the massacre at Emanuel AME Church on June 17.

“These affronts to the dignity of the human person and their blatant disregard for the value and beauty of life are reflective of a large segment of society that is seriously dysfunctional,” the bishop said.

“Our hearts go out to the families of those who were killed or injured,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “We pray for the restoration to full health for the wounded and commend those who have died to the embrace of a compassionate and loving God. May the Lord bring comfort to all involved and may we as a people find ways to identify and deal with the causes of such horrible violence and terrorism which is absolutely opposed to what the Kingdom of God on earth is meant to be.”

In Vatican City, Pope Francis offered his prayers and expressed hope that people would find ways to identify and uproot “the causes of such terrible and absurd violence.”

Describing the shooting as an expression of “homicidal folly and senseless hatred,” a Vatican statement said, “The terrible massacre that has taken place in Orlando, with its dreadfully high number of innocent victims, has caused in Pope Francis, and in all of us, the deepest feelings of horror and condemnation, of pain and turmoil.”

“Pope Francis joins the families of the victims and all of the injured in prayer and in compassion,” said the statement released June 12. “Sharing in their indescribable suffering he entrusts them to the Lord so they may find comfort.

“We all hope that ways may be found, as soon as possible, to effectively identify and contrast the causes of such terrible and absurd violence which so deeply upsets the desire for peace of the American people and of the whole of humanity,” the statement concluded.