It’s happening in South Bend, Indiana.
The pastor of a church in what was once the city’s Polish neighborhood has invited 12 men to undertake arms training to protect St. Stanislaus Church.
In a Sept. 1 email sent to his parishioners, Msgr. John Fritz, the pastor of St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr, appealed for volunteers to help clean up following the parish picnic Sept. 13 at the city’s FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) Lodge.
Later in the email, the pastor reported that a parishioner who is a police officer had arranged for firearms instruction at the FOP firing range after the picnic. Fritz asked for volunteers.
“We have spots for about 12 men who have no (or little) experience in shooting,” he wrote. “There will be a briefing on safety rules and training/practice to go from low ready to fire position, reload, fire again and return to safe.” The goal, the last paragraph of his email explained, was to protect the parish.
“We would like any man who wants to be included in the physical defense of the parish to be present to discuss and go over tactics for possible situations at St. Stanislaus that would require the use of firearms,” Fritz wrote.
This may help explain:
Last June, within a block of the church, at least 64 shots were exchanged between two vehicles around midnight. One of the bullets went through a stained glass window of the church.
“It just makes me scratch my head,” Fritz told South Bend television station WNDU at the time. “It’s frustrating in general that this would happen at all — particularly because we just had it redone. We’re trying to improve [things]; we’re trying to be a positive presence here.”
Police officials don’t believe that the church was targeted by the shooters, WNDU noted.