MGH leaders shared reflections, readings and prayers at a special “Circle of Concern: Confronting the Fear of Gun Violence” service Aug. 6, led by the Spiritual Care Department. Staff gathered in the MGH Chapel in response to the multiple gun violence attacks that have occurred recently throughout the United States. Below are a few of the thoughts shared during the event.

"I would like to invite those who are willing to place your hand over your heart and send kindness to yourself. It will help hold you in gentleness and kindness as we go through these painful times. As we do that, I would like to invite those who are willing to extend that kindness to the person beside you, to everyone in this room, extending farther to everyone in the hospital – to your patients, their families, your colleagues and friends – extending further to our neighborhood, to your loved ones and families, extending to every person in this country, in this continent, to other countries, to the whole earth and to all beings. I encourage each one of us to take a few minutes each day to practice sending kindness to ourselves and extending it to all. Each one of us has the power to make a difference, starting with ourselves and our community." –Rev. Alice Cabotaje, MDiv, BCC, director, Spiritual Care and Education in the Spiritual Care Department

"I am grateful to the organizers of today’s service for providing a place for members of our MGH family to come together to support one another and pray for a better future for our country. We must make sure this senseless loss of life finally leads to needed changes in the attitudes of our society and the laws of our country to prevent attacks like these from continuing to happen. This is a public health problem and we as a health care organization have a responsibility to be part of the solution. I encourage all of us to channel our grief into action, and leave today with at least one thing we will commit to doing to move us forward." –Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president

"We have to have hope. We must all think about what we can do not after a shooting, but when there isn’t one, when people are settling back to complacency. We need to make these efforts part of our day, week and year. We must practice kindness and empathy all days because that can prevent someone from hurting themselves or someone else. We need to all be vigilant in our environments, certainly here but at home as well. I hope we can live with intention, not with fear, and we need to empower ourselves and each other. I visualize a world free from gun violence a lot. I know I am not alone." –Bonnie Michelman, executive director, Police, Security and Outside Services