Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘Tragedy

Girl (10) Kills Mom with Air Rifle Brother Got for Christmas

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IOL police tapeChristmas gone wrong.

Cape Town – A 10-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed her mother with an air rifle her brother got as a Christmas present, Beeld reported on Friday.

The 45-year-old woman died in a Cape Town hospital on Christmas eve, following the accident in Oude Westhoff, Bellville.

The rifle was a Chrismas present for the girl’s older brother.

Police spokesman Lt-Col Andre Traut told Beeld they were investigating. -Sapa

How on earth can you buy a child an air rifle for Christmas?!


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

December 27, 2013 at 12:57

Colorado Shooting Happened Because ‘America has Lost its Fear of Hell’

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And the non-Christian victims are going to a ‘terrible place’. So says one Evangelical leader over there.

Gosh, the first thing I thought while reading the above news story was this:

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

– St Luke 13:1-5

In tragedy, there is a great need to be both pastoral and sensitive.  Bad things happen to Christians and non-Christian. It’s not just grievous sinners who suffer violent death. Nor do these things happen simply because Americans have lost their fear of hell. Of course, there is always the urgent need of repentance. For all manner of men.

UPDATE:  The Westboro lot are at it again:

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church appear to be on their way to protest a prayer vigil for victims of the Aurora massacre, according to tweets from members posted by

Using the hashtag #ThankGodForTheShooter, reports members tweeted out their plans to “super picket” the candle lit prayer service, saying “God is at work in Colorado.”

I simply can’t bear to go on. If you can, click here.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 22, 2012 at 17:39

Disaster at Reno Air Show

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Coming off a corner the pilot flew straight into a group of spectators at nearly 500 miles an hour:


LA Times describes a horrific scene with body parts spread across the tarmac. There are over 75 injuries and an unconfirmed number of deaths.

The above was reported here.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

September 17, 2011 at 10:49

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Falling TV Kills 7 Year Old Girl at Church

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Horror as girl, seven, dies after TV falls on her at CHURCH in front of family

The Daily Mail has the tragic story:

A seven-year-old girl was killed in Colusa, California when a large TV set fell off a stand and hit her head.

Police have not yet identified the girl, but they say she was trying to move the TV with her brother in the parish office conference room of Our Lady of Lourdes Church.

The girl and her brother were at the church with two other siblings and their mother, although she was not present in the room when the terrible accident happened, according to local CBS Sacramento.

Several of the little girl’s four brothers and sisters were at the horrific scene, however, which took place around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Another parishioner of the Catholic church who said she knows the family told CBS: ‘I’m crushed for them, it’s very upsetting’.

 According to the local station, the father of the little girl is a well-known doctor in the community, and the mother is a devoted volunteer to the parish.

Colusa is northwest of Sacramento, California’s state capital…

How heart-breaking!

There’s more and a short video here.

Also in the Colusa Sun Herald:

Officials at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Colusa on Wednesday urged everyone in town to keep the Meraz family in their thoughts after the tragic death of Kateri Meraz.

The 7-year-old girl was hit on the head Tuesday by a falling television as she tried to move the cart on which it was sitting so she and her brother could see the screen better.

“Please continue to keep the Meraz family in your prayers,” the Rev. Arbel Cabasagan said in a statement released Wednesday.

Meraz is the daughter of Dr. Antonio and Rocio Meraz.

An autopsy Tuesday revealed the cause of death as blunt force head trauma, the Colusa County Coroner’s Office reported.

It has been ruled an accidental death.

Meraz was at the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church rectory where her mother is a volunteer.

She and her brother were in what was described as a conference room watching television.

The young girl apparently was trying to turn the TV so she and her brother could better see the screen when the TV fell from the cart and struck her in the head, the police reported.

The incident occurred about 1 p.m…

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 7, 2011 at 22:27

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Cross Symbolizes Faith Amid Tragedy in Joplin

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Local priest: ‘At times like this, it is easy to see the face of Jesus.’ Updated numbers and look at how the Catholic community is helping.

NCR reports:

(CNS) — The devastating scene left by the massive F-5 tornado that hit Joplin the evening of May 22 can best be described as apocalyptic.

The tornado cut a swath of destruction three-fourths of a mile wide and six miles long, claiming at least 132 lives, as of May 27, with hundreds still missing. Nearly every building in its path was left in total ruin.

The powerful winds uprooted trees and tossed cars. They toppled bricks, bent steel, snapped power lines, sheared limbs and stripped bark off trees.

In a May 25 news conference for area faith leaders, Missouri Gov. Jeremiah Johnson, upon witnessing the catastrophic destruction at St. John’s Regional Medical Center, described it as a war zone.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church was in the storm’s direct path. The sanctuary, elementary school, rectory, parish hall and the St. Vincent de Paul building, the original church from 1938, were all leveled by the storm.

“Most people’s emotions are still too raw for them to begin processing this catastrophic event,” said Father Justin Monaghan, St. Mary’s pastor. “I just want to tell them, ‘Our prayers are with you, and we will rejoin you in rebuilding, healing and renewal, in the midst of the pain you are all suffering.’”

Read more here.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

May 29, 2011 at 13:00


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