Since the Farooks killed all their victims in hatred of the Christian and Jewish faith (and a few others), the faithful have become martyrs who went directly to Heaven, and who can and will intercede for us. Many of them may have led imperfect lives, but martyrdom takes care of that.
Here is an article on the victims. I’m going to spotlight the known Catholics, but of course many modern martyrdom causes (like that of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions) have included Protestant martyrs too; and the Maccabees and other Jewish martyrs of the Bible are also part of our faith. (And we can certainly hope and pray for the salvation of all of them.)
Tin Nguyen, parishioner at St. Barbara’s. Former Vietnamese refugee from Communist oppression. She was 31 and engaged to marry a nice young engineer. Her best friend at work was a Muslim lady named Anies Kondoker, who was also shot but survived.
Tin Nguyen, pray for us!
Damian Meins, 58. Parishioner of St. Johns, Rubidoux in the past; couldn’t find his current parish. Husband of the Sacred Heart Parish School principal. Taught phys ed at St. Catherine of Alexandria School and ran the after-school programs, played Santa Claus for the church, and painted a mural for the school. Selfless and smart.
Damian Meins, pray for us!
Bennetta Betbadal, pray for us!
Harry Bowman, 46. His childhood parish was St. Joseph, in Dallastown, PA. He graduated from Dallastown Area High School in Pennsylvania, then from Johns Hopkins (geography and environmental engineering) and then got his doctorate from Ohio State. He was a private person who once worked at CREATE at USC doing counterterrorism analysis, but changed his career to do statistical analysis at the health department. He was a pious Catholic who taught religion classes at his parish. According to his obituary, he taught Confirmation classes especially. He was also an avid hiker, gamer, and dancer. His nickname was “Hal.”
A fair number of gamers have been killed while fighting the War on Terror, or while otherwise serving the US (like Sean Smith in Benghazi). But this is the first Catholic gamer martyr of whom I’m aware.
UPDATE: Bowman was apparently separated or divorced, and it’s not clear what the situation was. But of course, even if you’re not in a state of grace, martyrdom puts you in one.
UPDATE: The mother’s side of the family has set up an education fund for his daughters. There’s also a YouFundMe that is apparently a scam, so beware!
Harry Bowman, pray for us!
Yvette Velasco, pray for us!
Martyrs of San Bernardino, patrons of food inspection and health departments, pray for us!
Also, let’s not forget those who survived, and who thus qualify as confessors. Pray for them, because they are probably suffering a lot of physical pain, survivor’s guilt, and grief. Pray for all the martyrs’ families and friends and co-workers, too.
Remember, Christ warned us how it would be. If the world was always going to crucify the Master, how are they going to treat the disciples any better? (cf. Matthew 10:24-25)
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you, because of Me.” (Matthew 5:11)
“Dearly beloved, do not take it as strange that a fiery trial takes place among you, as if some strange new thing were happening to you. But if you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice! For when His glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
“Blessed is that servant whom, when his Lord shall come, shall find him working.” (Matthew 24:26)