The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet affirmed our commitment to nonviolence and called for an end to gun violence in the United States of America back in August of 2016Once again with the tragic Parkland, Florida school shooting on Ash Wednesday/Valentine’s Day; and the shooting on the Central Michigan University campus on March, 2, 2018; we, as a congregation of 1,036 vowed women religious, reaffirm our commitment to nonviolence and pray for those impacted by the violence that continues to leave in its wake too many hearts and spirits broken by indescribable suffering. Far too many families are affected by violence in the homes, schools, and streets of our beloved nation.

Violence seems to be the new norm in the nation and the world. It is a public health and moral crisis that is destroying the lives, dignity, and hopes of millions of people in our country. Our intention as a people of faith is to recommit ourselves to develop and grow in our capacities for nonviolence, our capacities to love our dear neighbor without distinction, and to be a prophetic sign of unity and compassion in our world.

We are committed to a comprehensive approach to gun violence prevention that focuses on prevention of all forms of homicide, suicide, and unintentional shootings. We call upon Congress and state and local officials to enact gun laws that include making assault weapons illegal, ensuring comprehensive background checks on those purchasing guns at tradeshows, online, and in stores.

We turn to the God of mercy and peace, the God who wipes away every tear, to give us the strength to be instruments and forces of change, to be messengers of unity and reconciliation.

Pope Francis on Guns

“Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.” (Speech to U.S. Congress on September 24, 2015)

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March 2nd, 2018