TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Catholic Conference calls on Governor Rick Scott to show mercy to Robert Lavern Henry by commuting his sentence to life in prison without possibility of parole. Mr. Henry is scheduled to be executed at 6:00 p.m. on March 20, 2014 for the 1987 murders of Phyllis Harris and Janet Thermidor.
Human life, given by God, is sacred. This sacredness is not contingent upon one's guilty or innocent behavior. "Justice is not about vengeance," said Michael Sheedy, executive director. "Through a life of incarceration, Mr. Henry will be severely punished for his grave acts. Taking his life will not lessen the pain he has caused but only perpetuate the cycle of violence we as a society so strongly condemn."
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, March 20 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, March 20 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.
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, March 20 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 Thursday, March 20 beginning at 5:50 p.m. Spirit FM is also available on the internet (www.spiritfm905.com).
A prayer vigil will be held at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, 550 U.S. Highway 41 S., Inverness on Thursday, March 20 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. Patrick Catholic Church, 6803 Old Hwy 441 South, Mt. Dora on Thursday, March 20 at 3:00 p.m.
A bus will be leaving from the parking lot of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 201 University Blvd., Daytona Beach on March 20 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, email@example.com.
Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee:
A holy hour will take place at Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel, 19 N Palafox St, Pensacola, on Thursday, March 20 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, March 17 at 7:00 p.m. (CST). Contact: (850) 763-1821, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A prayer service/holy hour will be held at St. Mary Catholic Church, 110 St. Mary Avenue SW, Fort Walton Beach, on Wednesday, March 19 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, March 19 at 12:00 p.m. Contact: (850) 339-7847.
Additional Contact: Dcn. Ray Aguado, Office of Advocacy and Justice, Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, (850) 435-3531, email@example.com.
Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty will sponsor an interfaith prayer vigil scheduled for Thursday, March 20 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, March 21 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, March 20 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, 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 Sunday, March 16, 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, March 20 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.