TALLAHASSEE, FL – 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 the 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, email@example.com.
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 or 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, (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.
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 near Starke. Contact: For driving directions, George Diller, (352) 332-9780,Michelle Garcia, (352) 372-3533, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Thursday, July 10 beginning at 5:50 p.m. 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, email@example.com.
Diocese of Orlando
A prayer service will be held at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, 526 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL on Wednesday, July 9 at 5:00 p.m..
A prayer service will be held at Resurrection Parish,3855 S. Florida Avenue, Lakeland on Thursday, July 10 at 5:30 p.m.
A prayer vigil will be held at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 6803 Old Hwy 441 South, Mt. Dora on Wednesday, July 9, 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 June 18 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, (407) 246-4819, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee
A holy hour will take place at Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel, 19 N Palafox St, Pensacola, on Friday, July 4 at 11:00 a.m. (CST). Contact: (850) 438-4985.
A prayer service/holy hour will be held at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 1008 Fortune Avenue, Panama City, on Monday, July 7 at 7:00 p.m. (CST). Contact: (850) 763-1821, email@example.com.
A prayer service/holy hour will be held at St. Mary Catholic Church, 110 St. Mary Avenue SW, Fort Walton Beach, on Tuesday, July 8 at 6:00 p.m. (CST). Contact (850) 243-3742.
A prayer service to end the use of the death penalty is held at Immaculate Conception parish, 2750 South Byron Butler Parkway, Perry, every Thursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.
A prayer service will be held at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 4665 Thomasville Rd, Tallahassee, on Wednesday, July 9 at 7:30 p.m. Contact: (850) 339-7847.
A prayer service will be held in the chapel at the Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More, 900 West Tennessee Street, Tallahassee, on Tuesday, July 8 at 7:00 p.m.
Additional Contact: Dcn. Ray Aguado, Office of Advocacy and Justice, Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, (850) 435-3531, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty will sponsor an interfaith prayer vigil scheduled for Wednesday, July 9 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, July 11 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 on Thursday, July 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the chapel in 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
A prayer vigil will be held in the Chapel at St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church, 1922 SW 20th Avenue, Cape Coral on Wednesday, July 9, at 7:00 p.m. Contact: Maria, (239) 540-7096, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, 425 South Tamiami Trail, Osprey, will hold a prayer vigil on Wednesday, July 9 at 5:30 p.m. Contact: Parish office (941) 966-0807.
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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.