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Spring 2021 Address to the USF Community

Dear USF Community,
As both a Catholic and an American citizen, I have been deeply troubled and saddened by the growing civil unrest in our country over the past year, witnessed in the tragic events at our nation’s Capitol on Wednesday. These acts of political violence, as well as the hatred and disrespect for others that make them possible, are obviously contrary to the gospel. Moreover, they also threaten the rule of law and the civic values upon which our democratic republic rests.
In the Beatitudes Jesus taught us, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” As our nation moves forward in these uncertain and troubled times, we have the opportunity to put those words into practice right here in our USF community. This commitment requires accepting responsibility for our words and actions, showing forgiveness, listening respectfully, and speaking charitably even when we disagree with one another. Only in this way can we be true not only to God but also to the principles upon which our great nation was founded. 
Let us also remember the power of prayer to change our hearts and those of others. Mass is offered in our St. Francis Chapel daily at 11:30 am. The chapel doors are open for private prayer and contemplation throughout the day. I encourage you to take time, there or elsewhere, to ask God how you can help heal our nation’s wounds and build a more just, peaceful society. 
As the new semester begins, may God keep you safe and give you wisdom, and may we all join with Saint Francis in praying, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Eric Albert Zimmer