A Prayer Vigil to abolish the death penalty will be held at the Cathedral of the diocese. This vigil will begin a half hour before the scheduled 6 p.m. execution of death row inmate Eric Scott Branch by the State of Florida for the 1993 murder of Susan Morris.
Catholic faithful and members of the community are invited to gather in solidarity 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. In the Diocese of Palm Beach, Catholic Charities Respect Life Office in partnership with the Diocese of Palm Beach and Pax Christi Palm Beach will hold a Prayer Vigil which will begin with a short prayer service at 5:30 p.m. in the Cathedral Chapel. We will then process to Military Trail where we will pray in silence until 6:15 p.m.
In a February 15 letter on behalf of the bishops of Florida, Michael Sheedy, executive director, appealed to Governor Scott to commute Branch's death sentence to a life sentence without parole.
"It is our concern that the death penalty contributes to a growing disrespect for the sacredness of all human life," said Sheedy. "It feeds on an underlying sense of vengeance in our culture and adds to a callousness or coarseness towards one another."