On the one month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL all of the Independence Mission Schools held a prayer service to remember the 17 slain victims. While many schools around the country staged a walk-out St. Raymond School teachers and Fr. Chris Walsh directed students to “walk-towards” the ways of God.
We began with 4th thru 8th Grade Students proceeding to the School Hall. Fr. Chris offered a welcome and introduced a video with facts and statistics about gun violence. Students were encouraged to take notes. They had to write 5 facts from the video. Fr. Chris asked students to discuss what they learned from the video with each other.
Fr. Chris then facilitated an opportunity for students to meet 5 new people (students or adults) and learn one thing about them; seeking to end the isolation and stereotyping that so often leads to school violence and bullying. Then he showed a video with the pictures and names of the 17 victims of the shooting. After watching the video, students and adults put on coats and participated in a “walk-out” of the school. Class by class, and in silence as a way to honor those who died, remembering the victims and their families. The procession lead the students to “walk to” the church for a prayer service.
The Prayer Service began with singing Amazing Grace. Then members of the 8th grade read psalms. Fr. Chris explained the meaning of each reading to the students, giving them examples in which they could relate.
Do not be provoked by evildoers; do not envy those who do wrong. Like grass they wither quickly; like green plants they wilt away.
Trust in the LORD and do good that you may dwell in the land and live secure. Find your delight in the LORD who will give you peace and comfort to your heart.
Refrain from anger; abandon wrath; do not be provoked; it brings only harm. Those who do evil will be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD will inherit the earth.
The valiant one whose steps are guided by the LORD, who will delight in his way, may stumble, but he will never fall, for the LORD holds his hand.
Turn from evil and do good, that you may be settled forever. For the LORD loves justice and does not abandon the faithful. Observe the person of integrity and mark the upright; because there is a future for a man of peace.
The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD, their refuge in a time of distress. The LORD helps and rescues them, rescues and saves them from the wicked, because they take refuge in him.
One of the teachers read the names of each victim. Students from 4th & 5th grade carried a candle for each of the victims and placed it on the altar.
The intercessions below were read by the 6th grade students.
- For peace in the world and our neighborhoods, we pray…
- For your loving comfort of these victim’s families, we pray…
- For the teachers, student body and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, we pray…
- For the conversion of the shooter who inflicted physical and emotional wounds on this community, we pray…
- For the grace to reject violence and to promote a culture of life, we pray. For the repose of the souls of these victims and for so many others who have died from terrible acts of violence, we pray…
The service ended with the Lord’s Prayer and a Blessing.