Students Address Gun Violence at School Assembly on March 14th

James R. Lower, Principal of St. Charles Preparatory School, wrote to the St. Charles Family on Monday:  “Across America, the impact of gun violence is being felt in neighborhoods, schools and communities. A little less than twenty years ago, in May of 1999, our St. Charles family felt the terrible loss of one of our brothers and classmates, when St. Charles graduate, Brian Muha ’98, was killed.

The St. Charles Student Council and the Morning Prayer Club have planned and organized a school-wide response to the crisis of gun violence. We plan to stand in solidarity with other schools and communities on March 14, at 10:00 a.m., when we will come together to observe a service of prayer to promote peace and bring an end to gun violence.  We do so in line with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has outlined concrete proposals to respond to gun violence. We invite all members of the St. Charles Family to join us for this service,” he wrote.

[Photo, left] Nathaniel Thomas ’18 (Immaculate Conception School, Immaculate Conception Parish) speaks at the start of the a program  on Wednesday morning, March 14th, meant to bring together the St. Charles Community in a service of prayer to promote peace and bring an end to gun violence.

On Tuesday this gathering was scheduled to be held in front of the campus’ Resurrection Garden (just east of Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto), which in part memorializes alumnus Brian Muha ’98. But due to the cold, icy conditions outdoors, it was moved indoors into the Student Commons.

 

A special guest joining Principal Lower and the school at the event was Mrs. Rachel Muha, the mother of 1998 alumnus Brian Muha, who was murdered during a robbery during his freshman year at Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH. When she learned the background of her son’s murderers, she helped establish The Brian Muha Foundation with the goal to help inner-city children and teens improve their lives.  She has since started the West Side Run the Race Center, open every day, to provide “happiness through spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical development” to inner city Columbus children. Mrs. Muha has also established scholarship funds at Franciscan University and St. Charles Preparatory School, which both her sons attended. Muha says she is motivated by God’s will, which is Love.

Starting at 10 a.m., several students shared their thoughts about the subject and the numerous tragedies caused by gun violence. They talked about urging lawmakers, adults, and their fellow friends and classmates to help try and bring some solutions to this situation. While making their comments, other students came to the stage and lit a total of 17 candles while announcing the names of those 17 people killed in Parkland.

[Photo, left] Evan Benson ’19 (Our Lady of Peace School, Our Lady of Peace Parish) reads a passage from the Gospel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The assembly’s program:

St. Charles Prayer Service Against Gun Violence – March 14, 2018

Opening Prayer by Father James Martin, S.J –  Drew McClimon

Call to Purpose –  Nathaniel Thomas

Reading from Sacred Scripture: John 16 –   Evan Benson

Intercessions – Response: Lord, Hear Our Prayer –  Luke Voegele and Ray Duffy

Remembrance of Victims –  St. Charles Students

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14

Scott Beigel, 35

Martin Duque, 14

Nicholas Dworet, 17

Aaron Feis, 37

Jaime Guttenberg, 14

Chris Hixon, 49

Luke Hoyer, 15

Cara Loughran, 14

Gina Montalto, 14

Joaquin Oliver, 17

Alaina Petty, 14

Meadow Pollack, 18

Helena Ramsay, 17

Alex Schachter, 14

Carmen Schentrup, 16

Peter Wang, 15

Call to Action –  Matthew Sing

Closing Prayer and Dismissal –  Mr. Lower

[Photo, left]Peter Griffith ’19 (Our Lady of Peace School, Our Lady of Peace Parish) prepares to light a candle representing one of those killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while behind him Ray Duffy ’19 (St. Catharine School, St. Catharine Parish) listens intently. In front of Peter are Luke Voegele ’18 (St. Andrew School, St. Brigid of Kildare Parish), who reads the name of another victim from that tragic day, as well as Mrs. Rachel Muha and Principal Jim Lower.

 

Do everything so that liberty is victorious over oppression, justice over injustice, love over hate.

– Ignacio Ellacuría

 

Below is the text response to Governor Kasich’s Proposals on Curbing Gun Violence by the Catholic Bishops of Ohio:

The Catholic Bishops of Ohio call upon Ohio’s elected leaders to adopt prudent policies to help curb gun violence. Now is the time for action. Now is the time to promote the culture of life.

We urge open and civil discourse that will result in the enactment of bipartisan reforms. We pray that Ohio’s leaders will set aside political agendas and achieve solutions that promote the common good and safety of all people. We believe just solutions can be found that will not violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

We commend state leaders who are actively seeking solutions to the pressing issue of gun violence. We applaud Governor Kasich for calling together persons with differing perspectives and for his leadership in seeking points of common agreement. The Catholic Conference of Ohio was grateful to be a part of this gathering. The process offers hope that agreements can be reached not only on gun violence, but other contentious issues, as well.

The group’s  recommendations, released on March 1, 2018 provide a starting point for a bipartisan response to gun violence. The Conference strongly encourages members of the Ohio General Assembly to consider seriously these recommendations.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, urged leaders to address solutions to gun violence. He stated, “Violence in our society will not be solved by a single piece of legislation, and many factors contribute to what we see going on all around us. Even so, our leaders must engage in a real debate about needed measures to save lives and make our communities safer.”

 The (USCCB) encourages the enactment of sensible regulations addressing the culture of violence in our country. Such changes include:

      Measures that control the sale and use of firearms, such as universal background checks for all gun purchases;

     Limitations on civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines;

     A federal law to criminalize gun trafficking;

     Improved access to mental health care for those who may be prone to violence;

     Reasonable regulations and limitations on the purchasing of handguns;

     Measures that make guns safer, such as locks that prevent children and anyone other than the owner from using the gun without permission and supervision;

     Increased support for prison reentry programs that help people avoid re-offending; and

     Improved access to treatment for those with substance abuse addiction.

 

To learn more about the Catholic Church’s statements on gun violence link to:

https://www.ohiocathconf.org/Issues/category/gun-violence  

 

                                                                                                                 —The Catholic Bishops of Ohio

 

                     You can be the change that you wish to see in the world!