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  • Doug Tjapkes

Federal executions resume. YOU can do something!

Charles Anthony Nealy. Not many people remember that name. It’s the name of a young man executed by the State of Texas in 2007. Here are two more names that will be new to you: William LeCroy and Christopher Vialva. These two men are scheduled to be put to death this week by the United States Government. Not many people can say that they witnessed an execution. I can. I didn’t want to watch Texas put Anthony to death. But he was my friend, and he asked me to be there with him as his spiritual advisor. I’m the first to admit that I’m not much good at that “spiritual advisor” stuff, and I’m afraid my presence and my last-minute prayers were quite inadequate. The experience, however, solidified my feelings about the death penalty...something I find immoral. Sadly, our federal government has opted to resume this barbaric form of punishment. The Catholic Momentum Network has announced plans to conduct two Virtual Prayer Vigils on the scheduled dates for the executions this week. I’ll share the announcement. “Together we will hold in prayer the victims, their loved ones, and all those who will be impacted by these acts of state-sanctioned violence. Virtual Prayer Vigil for William LeCroy  Tuesday, Sept. 22  |  2-3 pm EDT Virtual Prayer Vigil for Christopher Vialva  Thursday, Sept. 24  |  2-3 pm EDT “I hope you will join us in witnessing against these attacks on human dignity. Your prayers are an act of hope.” This all comes in the week that we are mourning the loss of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Here is one of her observations re capital punishment: “People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty. I have yet to see a death case among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court on eve of execution-stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial.” Said Justice Ginsberg to a college audience: “If I were queen there would be no death penalty.” Alas, she is not the queen, and not even with us anymore. But you and I are still here, we have voices, and we have the ability to do something. If you are a person of faith, I invite you to participate in one or both of the prayer vigils. If you are a registered voter, I encourage you to express your opinion to your U.S. Representative and Senator. And if their opinions are different than yours, I encourage you to do something about it in November. If we believe that murder is wrong and not admissible in our society, then it has to be wrong for everyone, not just individuals but governments as well. Sister Helen Prejean

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