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Injured officer preaches forgiveness in the face of violence

Date: 2/2/2009

Wilbraham On Jan. 23 Officer Steven McDonald of the New York Police Department spoke to students and faculty of Wilbraham & Monson Academy with his message of answering violence with forgiveness. Officer Steve, as he is known, has been making these presentations since 1988, two years after he was critically injured in the line of duty by a 15-year-old suspect in a series of bicycle thefts in Central Park.

McDonald's speaking engagements range from school and community groups across the country to the Republican National Convention in 2004 to Northern Ireland. A Catholic, McDonald joined Protestant writer and speaker Johann Cristoph Arnold in addressing the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont Castle in Belfast.

Students and faculty members listened in silence to Officer Steve as he quietly related the circumstances of his shooting and the importance of faith in his recovery. At the conclusion of his talk, he received a long standing ovation, and many in the audience were moved to tears by his story. He encouraged everyone to use their talents to help others and to forgive those who had hurt them in any way.

Also in attendance were Wilbraham Chief of Police Allen Stratton and Wilbraham Officer Chris Doyle, himself wounded in the line of duty, and East Longmeadow Chief of Police Douglas Mellis.

The lecture is part of the Robert McCallum '47 Visiting Lecture Series, enriching the spiritual lives of students at Wilbraham & Monson Academy.