Letter for March 6

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 6, 2005

To the editor:

An open letter to the Most Reverend Gabriel Montalvo,

As Mayor of the City of Selma, I would like to express both my personal grief and the general sorrow of my fellow Selmians at the death of Pope John Paul II.

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Selma’s Catholic community goes back a long way, before the Civil War, and our hearts go out to them in their hour of bereavement.

In losing John Paul II, who had been their Holy Father for 27 years, they have cause indeed to mourn.

It is our hope and prayer that in the days ahead God will send them both consolation for their loss and a new pope to guide them in the practice of their faith.

But the passing of such an outstanding spiritual leader touches not just Catholics, but also people of all faiths. Selma’s Protestants, Jews and Muslims all join together in mourning the loss of a man who devoted his whole life to preaching peace and social justice and building bridges between people of different races, classes and creeds.

We are all diminished by the death of this man.

But we share John Paul’s faith that God’s purpose is to be sought in all things, and that we should not be afraid to meet the challenges He sends.

With kindest regards, I am

James Perkins, Jr.

City of Selma, Alabama