The more than 350 members of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities ask you to join them in praying for the victims of the mass shooting In Parkland, Florida, and working together to end gun violence in any form — whether perpetrated by private citizens or law enforcement officers.

This week’s mass shooting that resulted in the deaths of at least 17 innocent students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School continues to show clearly that any one of us in this country is a potential victim of gun violence. Shooting victims cross the lines of race, gender, age and socioeconomic standing.

Along with thoughts and prayers, we need gun control policies that address access to assault rifles which far too often, become weapons of mass destruction against innocent people. We also need to address the mental health care needs of U.S. residents. Please join us in praying that our lawmakers take appropriate action.

We pray in the spirit of the Psalms:

We are in distress, we are in anguish.
Our tears are bitter as once again
The lives you have created
Are disrespected, destroyed,
Because of fear, of hate, of refusal
To see the others as part of oneself,
Because weapons are more common
Than compassion, than solidarity.
We pray for the dead,
For their families and friends in grief.
We pray for the living,
May the healing begin,
For the wounded,
For all those in the frantic crowd,
For the local communities,
For this nation,
In distress, in anguish.
We pray that we may begin
To see the violence end
And peace be with us all. Amen.

Prayer courtesy of Jane Deren, Ph.D.
Education for Justice, a project of Center of Concern