This is from my good friend Sr. Clara, a member of the Apostles of the Interior Life. I have added a few further resources below her message:
I heard today from our dear friends Little Sisters of the Lamb, that a man they know, who converted to Catholicism in prison, will be executed on January the 20th.
I ask you to write the Governor of Texas and ask for changing his death penalty into imprisonment.
While as soon as I started praying for him, I found in the Breviary of today this passage from Isaiah (61:1) who gave me hope and desire to get you involved: “The Lord has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners” Is 61:1, followed again by the responsory: “The Lord has sent me to proclaim that captivity is now ended and prisoners are set free”.
I entrust Richard to St Therese of Lisiueux, who prayed for people condemned to death, and to my holy friends Rossella, very devout to St Therese, who passed away one year ago on January 9th.
Also, the Pope wants this Jubilee Year of Mercy, which by definitions is about setting prisoners free: According to Leviticus, slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven, and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest.(Leviticus)25:8-13
Please, follow the instructions on the attachments. (I have added PDFs of the attachments below – ed.) The first letter is for Catholics, and the other one for all.
Please, send this to your contacts.
Please, pray for Richard and governor Abbott
Thank you and God bless!
The death penalty is a very controversial subject. A society has a duty to protect its citizens and to punish wrongdoers, but it also has to ensure that the justice it enacts takes into account the dignity of the offender, even when the offender did not afford his victim their dignity. The teaching of the Catholic Church, found in paragraph 2267 of the Catechism, is a summary of this balance:
Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”
All of us have committed sin, and all of us are called to repentance and conversion that leads, ultimately, to union with God. No matter the sin, God is ready and willing to forgive it. This “folly of mercy” may strike us as unfair, especially for those who have committed horrible sins. And yet, all sin is an offense against God’s perfect purity, and is deserving of death. Thankfully, it appears that Richard has found this forgiveness before the date of his execution, but others on death row may not. Even if you do not agree that the state should stay its hand in his death, please pray for his final perseverance and for the souls of all those who will die in the coming weeks. Pray for the conversion of all hearts, especially for those on death row.
I would also encourage you to ask for Claude Newman’s intercession for Richard. He was also a murderer who found Jesus before his execution date:
February, 2016 – update from the little brothers and sisters of the Community of the Lamb:
January 21st, 2016
Dear families and friends,
This Wednesday, 20th January, Richard, our « brother », has entered into Life that no one can now take away from him. Up to the end, until the last minute, we hoped with a great hope for clemency from men…
We all prayed with faith and fervor, called, sent letters and emails to the Governor of Texas…some little brothers and sisters went to Texas to be close to Richard and his family, and two hours before the execution, our little sister Marie managed to speak to him by telephone: it was a beautiful moment of light in the heart of these unbelievably harsh events. Of course, she transmitted to him the support and prayer of Pope Francis, of so many friends and of each one of you…
One hour after the execution, Richard’s body was laid out in a Baptist Church – as his family are Baptist – and each one could spend a moment with him. The prayer and singing of the little brothers and sisters present consoled his family. On Thursday and Friday, there will be a vigil of prayer in the evening; and on Saturday the funeral will take place in Livingstone, in a Catholic Church – since Richard became Catholic during his years in prison. What a beautiful sign of communion in this week of prayer for Christian unity!
An immense thank you to each and everyone for your prayer, your help, and acts of solidarity. This event allowed us to experience communion and friendship: it is a very great grace! Richard himself wrote to little sister Marie a few days ago: « Please, tell everybody that I’m thankful for the letters and that I’m very moved that they have sent me so much love and prayers. Tell them that that counts a lot for me. Tell them that I embrace them all…I had some pretty difficult moments these last few months, but I’m pretty good now. I’m ready for whatever happens, one way or another… »
Let us pray for the repose of Richard,
and, in communion with all those who wait in “death row”, with him, let us ask for the grace to persevere in this battle to put an end to the death penalty (the next execution is planned for this coming Wednesday!)
the little brothers and sisters of the Community of the Lamb