Today, as young people across this nation took part in a school walk-out to end gun violence, students in some of our Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Trenton walked out of their classrooms to come together in prayer.
I was deeply moved to stand with the students in Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville as we prayed the Rosary for an end to gun violence in our schools and remembered its victims. I stood in support of several other of our high schools where similar gatherings were held, including St. John Vianney in Holmdel; Donovan Catholic in Toms River; Holy Cross Academy, Delran; St. Rose in Belmar, and Trenton Catholic Academy in Hamilton.
The institution of common sense measures to curb gun violence has long been a focus for the Church in the United States. Just last week, leaders of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called for all of us to put aside partisanship and overheated rhetoric as we work together to advance measures that will protect human life, especially the innocent and vulnerable lives of students and educators who have too often been targeted. In its truest sense, the effort to curb gun violence reflects our Church’s teaching about the need to respect the dignity and sanctity of every human life.
I don’t think the answer is to put guns in the hands of teachers but to restrict gun use by the deranged, disgruntled and disturbed. Our government cannot ignore its responsibility any longer. We must keep our kids safe.
I support our students who participated in today’s exercises. These prayer services today, and the advocacy efforts that students in even more of our schools will pursue in the weeks to come, offer all of us a powerful witness. They serve to remind us that we are compelled to stand up for the protection of human life in all things, and that we must begin all of our efforts with prayer, asking God to give us strength, patience, compassion and understanding.