The Florida Catholic Conference urges Governor Scott to commute the sentence of Chadwick Banks, who is scheduled for execution on Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. Mr. Banks deserves severe punishment for the brutal acts of violence he inflicted upon his victims, Sandra Banks and Melody Cooper. Life in prison without the possibility of parole would serve this purpose.
The State has the right to carry out the death penalty if necessary to keep society safe from an unjust aggressor. However, justice can be served and society can be protected without resorting to the deliberate taking of a person’s life. We affirm the dignity of all persons, including both victims and offenders. The death penalty denies human dignity, contributes to an ever-growing disrespect for the sacredness of human life and feeds a sense of vengeance rather than justice.
In an October 23, 2014 meeting with representatives of the International Association of Penal Law, Pope Francis called on all Christians and people of good will to fight for the end of the use of the death penalty. "It is impossible to imagine that states today cannot make use of another means than capital punishment to defend peoples' lives from an unjust aggressor," the pope said.
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 the end of the use of the death penalty:
Archdiocese of Miami
A prayer vigil will be held following 11:45 a.m. Mass on Thursday, November 13 at St. Martha Catholic Church, 9401 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami Shores. Contact: Juan Di Prado, (305) 762-1046, email@example.com.
Diocese of St. Augustine
Prayer vigils will be held on Thursday, November 13 at the following locations:
- In front of the St. Augustine Beach City Hall at the corner of A1A and 16th Street, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Contact: Nancy O'Byrne, (904) 461-9216, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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, email@example.com or Sr. Maureen Kelley at (904) 704-0313, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In front of the Flagler County Courthouse, 5:00-6:00 p.m., 1769 E. Moody Blvd, Bunnell. Contact: Jackie Morelewicz, (386) 986-3146, email@example.com
- Across the highway from the Florida State Prison Execution Building, Starke, 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. Drive eight miles west of US 301 on Florida Highway 16 West. Contact: John Linnehan, (904) 504-1004, firstname.lastname@example.org
A carpool will be leaving on Thursday, November 13 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 near Starke. Contact: Michelle Garcia, (352) 372-3533, email@example.com.
Additional Contact: Kathleen Bagg, Office of Communications, Diocese of St. Augustine, (904) 262-3200.
Diocese of St. Petersburg
- Spirit FM 90.5 WBVM Tampa will be praying on air Wednesday, November 12 beginning at 5:50 p.m. Spirit FM is also available on the internet (www.spiritfm905.com).
- St. Vincent de Paul Parish, 4843 Mile Stretch Dr., Holiday, FL will have a prayer service Thursday, November 13 at 5:30 p.m.
- Our Lady of Fatima, Respect Life Committee, Inverness will have a prayer vigil on Thursday, November 13, at 5:30 p.m.
Contact: Sabrina Burton Schultz, Diocese of St. Petersburg, (727) 344-1611, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diocese of Orlando
- A prayer service will be held at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, 526 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, Florida 32789, on November 11 at 5:00 p.m. followed by the daily Mass at 5:30 p.m.
- A prayer service will be held at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 6803 Old Hwy 441 South, Mt. Dora on November 12 at 11:00 a.m.
- A bus will be leaving from the parking lot of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 201 University Blvd., Daytona Beach on November 13 at 2:30 p.m. for a prayer service outside the prison in Starke at 6:00 p.m.
Contact: Office of Advocacy and Justice, email@example.com or (407)-658-1818 ext. 2086.
Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee
- A prayer service/holy hour will be held at St. Mary Catholic Church, 110 St. Mary Ave SW, Fort Walton Beach, on November 11 at 6:00 p.m. (CST). Contact: (850) 243-3742.
- A holy hour will take place at Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel, 19 N Palafox St, Pensacola, on Friday, November 7 at 11:00 a.m. (CST). Contact: (850) 438-4985.
- A holy hour will be held at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 1008 Fortune Avenue, Panama City, on Monday, November 10 at 7:00 p.m. (CST). Contact: (850) 763-1821, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A prayer service to end the use of the death penalty is held at Immaculate Conception parish, 2750 South Byron Butler Parkway, Perry, everyThursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.
- A holy hour will be held at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 4665 Thomasville Rd, Tallahassee, on Wednesday, November 12 at 7:00 p.m. Contact: (850) 339-7847.
Additional Contact: Deacon Ray Aguado,(850) 435-3531, email@example.com.
- Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty will sponsor an interfaith prayer vigil scheduled for Thursday, November 13 at 6:00 p.m. in front of the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee and a service of remembrance in the Capitol Building Plaza Level Rotunda the day after the execution, Friday, November 14 at noon. Contact: Sheila Meehan, (850) 524-0080.
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 in the Chapel on Thursday, November 13 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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diocese of Venice
- A prayer vigil will be held in the Chapel at St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church, 1922 SW 20th Avenue, Cape Coral on Wednesday, Nov 12 at 7:00 p.m. Contact: Maria, (239) 540-7096, email@example.com.
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, 425 South Tamiami Trail, Osprey, will hold a prayer vigil on Thursday, November 13 at 5:00 p.m. Contact: Parish office (941) 966-0807
- San Pedro Catholic Church, 14380 Tamiami Trail, North Port, will hold a prayer vigil on Thursday, November 13, at 5:30 p.m.
- St. Joseph Catholic Church, 3100 26th St. West, Bradenton, will hold a prayer vigil on Thursday, November 13, at 5:00 p.m. in the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel.
- Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 1301 Center Road, Venice, will hold a prayer service on Thursday, November 13, at 9:30 a.m. prior to the Parish Respect Life Meeting.
Additional contact: Jeanne Berdeaux, 941-441-1101 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Florida Catholic Conference is an agency of the Catholic Bishops of Florida. The archbishop and bishops of the seven (arch)dioceses in Florida constitute its board of directors.