On the Storm-tossed Sea

Orlando Hall

To Be Executed at 3 p.m. Today

In A Boat on A Stormy Sea

“We are all in a small lifeboat on the storm-tossed sea of  life and all we have is our fierce loyalty to one another.”

Orlando Cordia Hall
Thursday, November 19 at 6:00 pm ET

The Catholic Mobilizing Network is hosting a Virtual Prayer Vigil.

Virtual Prayer Vigil for Orlando Hall
Thursday, November 19 from 2-3 pm ET

Complete the form on this web page https://catholicsmobilizing.org/virtual-vigils. You will receive a custom Zoom link for the vigil.


    Today Orlando Hall will be executed at 3:00 p.m. our time. Two key elements in his trial: convicted by an all-white jury, and he had a poor legal defense. It is also to be noted that the majority on death row are poor people of color. Our legal system is not fair.

    For me, the death penalty is a symbol of non-caring for human beings. All of us are in a small life-boat on the storm-tossed sea of life, and we need to give each other care and support.

    I remember a time in Hollywood, many years ago, as if it was just yesterday when a man forcibly attempted to rape me, and I pulled my knife and held it to his throat, stopping myself before I pushed it in. From that time forth I knew of my capability as a human being, and have turned away from violence. Non-violence is not a glorified concept to me, but a necessity born out of my experienced.

    My son was murdered, and only in forgiving and letting go of hate and desire for revenge did I find wholeness in life; working with a young guy

on death row reminds me of how close each human being is to an act of violence, and that only the grace of Jesus of Nazareth, and his love makes us human, truly whole.

    Often I see violence, I hear of brutal murders, and have seen and known murder victims, and within me, there is a rage that cries out to nail the bastards to the cross, and then I remember the One who was  crucified, in order to make us be- loved children of God, and not bastards, reminding   us in the words of Father Henri Nouwen of what makes us whole:

“Caring, therefore, is being present to people as they fight this ultimate battle, a battle that becomes ever more real and intense as death approaches. Dying and death always call forth, with renewed power, the fear that we are unloved and will, finally be reduced to useless ashes. To care is to stand by a dying person and to be a living reminder that the person is indeed the beloved child of God.”

    Let us stand by Orlando as he drowns in the “storm-tossed sea”, praying for him, and rededicating ourselves to a life of non-violence.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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