National Vigil for Victims of Gun Violence: An eyewitness account

By Brother Brian McLauchlin SVD

On Dec. 11, 2014, I attended the National Vigil for Victims of Gun Violence at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Several hundred people attended this vigil, praying in solidarity with the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings in Connecticut and the many other victims of gun violence around our country.

The service was ecumenical with a call to prayer from the director of a Buddhist center and an imam from a local mosque. Together we prayed with the words of Catholics, Baptists, Episcopalians and Jews, all highlighting the plea to end this epidemic.

One of the more powerful moments for me was “A Call to Commitment” in which Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the National Cathedral, asked us to do all we can to put a stop to gun violence. The task is not an easy one because violence is deep within our social and political system. In my opinion, the major issue is to have stricter gun-control laws, but in order to truly get at the root of the violence, we need to address racial injustice, poverty, inequality in education, police brutality, etc. We need to advocate on behalf of the victims of the many levels of injustice that we face in our society.

The prayer service ended with “This Little Light of Mine.” Unfortunately, the lights of so many innocent victims of senseless gun violence were extinguished at a young age. May their memory stay with us so that we may advocate on their behalf. Let’s do all we can to eliminate violence in all its forms.

A good resource on the issue of gun violence is the Newtown Action Alliance: newtownaction.org. Please visit this website to find out more ways you can advocate on behalf of stricter gun laws.

Brother Brian McLauchlin SVD is a member of the Justice and Peace Office of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) in Washington, D.C. He works towards awareness and understanding of immigration issues; peace in the Middle East; and environmental justice.

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