A prayer for Vegas victims transcends religious differences

People gathered at the Mosaic Law Congregation Tuesday to offer prayers to the Las Vegas shooting victims.

Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Baha'i: differences between the faith traditions were set aside Tuesday night, as nearly 200 people gathered at Sacramento's Mosaic Law Congregation to offer prayers for the victims of the Las Vegas massacre.

Tuesday was also Cindy Swartz's birthday, but she felt compelled to visit her synagogue to participate in the interfaith prayer service.

"One of the beauties of Judaism is, we are about community and family," Swartz told ABC10 News. "In fact, to mourn a death, you have to have at least 10 people to say the prayer."

Upon learning the news of Sunday night's shooting in Las Vegas, Swartz said her stomach grew queasy.

"Let's hope nothing like this ever happens again," she said. "As we say about the Holocaust, too, 'Never again.'"

Jon Fish, president of the Interfaith Council of Greater Sacramento, introduced nine speakers from different area congregations and faith traditions.

"Father God, we come to you today," Bishop Ron Allen of Greater Solomon Temple Community Church said. "Bless, Lord, right now, the bereaved family in Las Vegas."

"Protect them forever and provide comfort to their families, friends and relatives," a leader from the Sikh community prayed.

"This is great pain," Imam Qasmi from the Muslim Mosque Association said, with emotion in his voice. "Irrevocable pain. Irrevocable loss."

"Until such times as these, it seems that we drift into a place of darkness in which we forget that I am your sister and you are my brother," said Pastor Joy Johnson, President of Sacramento Area Congregations Together.

"Unfortunately, it takes tragic events such as we have witnessed to see the beauty and the diversity that we have here today," said Ghaneh Fananapazir, of the Baha'i Faith.

Brian Baker, Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, said he and his fellow clergy members discussed "thinking about how we've become good at this, and with a little bit of heartbreak realizing that there may be the day when we have to show up for one another because the shooting happened here."

"Will we be brave enough to pray for our leaders to do the right thing and end this gun violence in our nation?" Pastor Elaine Whitefeather, of Faith in Action Community Church, said.

Reuven Taff is Rabbi at the host venue, Mosaic Law Congregation.

"I pray that we can come together, please God, for simcha, for a more joyous event," he said.

"Thank you, blessed God," Father Michael Kiernan of the Catholic faith said. "Help us, heal us and bless your people."

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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