Catholic Schools Wanted Prayer Instead of Walking Out on Gun Violence

Organized Prayer Service and Discipline on National Walk Out Day

Today over 180,000 students in America walked out of school at 10:00 am EST and stood for 17 minutes to protest the lack of effort to stop gun violence and serve as a memorial to the 17 students killed in the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

But Catholic schools had a different idea. They organized religious services. Some held mass, others had a prayer service about gun violence, while others held religious discussions. All were held on campus. Very few Catholic schools allowed their students to leave campus to join the nationwide protest movement.

This does not mean that prayer was done entirely in absence of any other action. Some schools spoke to children about how Catholics are against all gun violence and some church officials gave students advice about how to write to their legislators in creating change on gun laws in the United States. The belief was that staying on campus and focusing on prayer better fulfilled both the educational and religious missions of the institutions.

This does also not mean that the protest movement did not have religious components. For example, some schools in the Mid-West held a prayer service after the walkout. The key difference is leaving the school and using the teachings of a particular religious denomination.

Several schools, including most Catholic ones, gave warnings that students would be held to disciplinary action if they walked out. It is unclear how many students decided to follow the national movement and ignore the religious alternative that was offered.

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