The Florida Catholic Conference appeals to Governor Rick Scott to commute the sentence of Eddie Wayne Davis to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Mr. Davis is scheduled to be executed at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 10, 2014, for the 1994 Polk County murder of 11-year-old Kimberly Shultz, his girlfriend’s daughter. We join in prayer for the condemned, his victim and their families.
The Conference acknowledges the gravity of the crimes for which Mr. Davis has been found guilty and supports the need for strict sentencing in cases of violent crime. However, taking another life perpetuates the cycle of violence and vengeance. A life sentence without possibility of parole imparts a severe and just punishment while maintaining protection for society.
We have consistently called for a culture of life that respects the inherent dignity of all persons, including those on death row and others who have done great harm. The Gospel reminds us that it is easy to love those who love us and do good to those who have done good to us. Yet we are called to “love your enemies and do good to them.” The Lord “himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36)
Catholic faithful and members of the community are invited to gather in solidarity at the following times and locations to pray for the victims of violent crimes and their families, for persons on death row awaiting execution, and for an end to the use of the death penalty:
Archdiocese of Miami
A prayer vigil will be held following 11:45 a.m. Mass on Thursday, July 10 at St. Martha Catholic Church, 9401 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami Shores. Contact: Juan Di Prado, (305) 762-1046, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diocese of St. Augustine Prayer vigils will be held on Thursday, July 10 at the following locations: • In front of the St. Augustine Beach City Hall at the corner of A1A and 16th Street, 5:15 - 6:15 p.m. Contact: Nancy O'Byrne, (904) 461-9216, email@example.com.
In front of the new Duval County Unified Courthouse, 501 W. Adams Street, Jacksonville, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Contact: Jackie Gunning, (904) 449-3328, firstname.lastname@example.org or Sr. Maureen Kelley at (904) 704-0313, email@example.com.
In front of the Flagler County Courthouse, 5:00-6:00 p.m., 1769 E. Moody Blvd, Bunnell. Contact: Jackie Morelewicz, (386) 986-3146, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A carpool will be leaving on Thursday, July 10 at 4:30 p.m. from the parking lot of St. Augustine Church and Catholic Student Center, 1738 W. University Avenue, Gainesville to attend a prayer service at Florida State Prison. Contact: For driving directions, George Diller, (352) 332-9780 Michelle Garcia, (352) 372-3533, email@example.com.
Diocese of St. Petersburg
Spirit FM 90.5 WBVM Tampa will be praying on air Thursday, July 10, at 5:50 pm. Spirit FM is also available on the internet (www.spiritfm905.com). Prayer time will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 4843 Mile Stretch Drive, Holiday, FL on Thursday, July 10, at 5:30 p.m. Contact: Sabrina Burton Schultz, Diocese of St. Petersburg, (727) 344-1611, firstname.lastname@example.org
Diocese of Orlando
Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee
Diocese of Palm Beach
Catholic Charities Respect Life Office in partnership with the Diocese of Palm Beach and Pax Christi will host a prayer service on Thursday, July 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola, 9999 N. Military Trail, Palm Beach Gardens. The service will be followed by a procession and silent vigil in front of the Cathedral from 5:45 - 6:15 p.m. Contact: Dianne Laubert, (561) 313-2280, email@example.com.
Diocese of Venice