I Still Dare to Hope

On June 12, 2016 Stephen Binkley, Chaplain at Orlando Regional Medical Center, wasn’t scheduled to go into work,  but when he received the call that they needed him in the emergency room he rushed over.

Just three blocks away from Orlando Regional Medical Center at 1:58a.m. a gunman had opened fire inside Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. By 3:00a.m. Binkley was in the hospital helping to identify and reach out to families of the victims from the shooting.

“In situations like these it’s important for us to locate someone that is familiar to them and to be a source of peace in the midst of all the chaos,” said Binkley. “When I got in it really set me back, we train and we prepare for these events, but it was just a very surreal experience.”

Forty-four people raced through the trauma center. The first was conscious, talking and medically stable. The next few arrived in critical condition. Nine didn’t make it past the first few minutes. Binkley was one of six chaplains available to provide comfort to the victims and family.

Later that morning, the worst mass shooting by a single gunman in American history would claim 49 lives and leave 53 people injured and Binkley would be with his congregation delivering a sermon on hope. 

“I struggled with the first sermon. Can I really say I still dare to hope,” questioned Binkley. “Sometimes it’s too soon, but Lamentations 3:21-33 opens us to the question of where does hope lie, does it lie in our experiences or something deeper.” 

To hear more of Stephen Binkley’s account as Chaplain at Orlando Regional Medical Center tune into the Catholic Channel’s Sirius XM radio show JustLove hosted by Executive Director of Catholic Charities, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan.