A call to faith

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A call to faith

Deacon Mark Byington, who serves at St. Joseph Parish in Farmington, was a Dallas police officer for seven years, from 1987 to 1994, and teaches criminal justice at Jefferson County Community College. So, he provides the unique perspective of a criminal justice expert viewing the tragedy in Dallas through the eyes of faith.

"We need our faith more than ever. We have to provide hope in a better tomorrow. You can't look at the cross and not realize it becomes a struggle and it's non-violent. A truly innocent man was tortured so we have to keep that in mind if we follow Christ, ... so we don't look at this as the end times, or that it's only going to get more terrible and worse, or there's no answer. I don't believe that."

"There should be a movement, a world-wide movement that all lives matter. You're a child of God and I'm a child of God so I can't do anything willfully to harm you; your life matters just as much as mine. The moment we separate ourselves actually weakens the chance of resolving something and coming to a positive end."

"We as a society turn to violence in response to everything... We've lost our ability to communicate. We've lost the ability to calm ourselves. Our grandparents told us to count to 10 before you do something. If we're talking it out, that's counting and the level of anger that leads to violence will be reduced, (but) we've lost the ability to work things out."

"This is a wake-up call for the country, for people to commit to their faith and actually living it out. We have to understand Christ's teaching is non-violent. ... We can't return violence with violence — an eye for an eye makes the world blind. We have to hold on to Christ's teaching and example, and endure. We have to have hope in a better tomorrow. If we hold on to our faith, we will have peace." 

St. Michael's Retreat

What: non-denominational, co-ed spiritual retreat for first-responders — police, fire, EMTs, etc. When: Tuesday-Thursday, Nov. 1-3. Where: White House Jesuit Retreat, 7400 Christopher Drive in south St. Louis County Cost: $50 for registration. White House operates on a free-will offering basis. Donations are welcome. Lodging and meals are provided. Retreat leader: Jesuit Father Joe Laramie POST credit: The Missouri Department of Public Safety's POST Program has approved the retreat for eight "Interpersonal" credit hours. Information/registration: contact Joe Parisi at (314) 416-6400 or joep@whretreat.org 

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