FAN Participates In March Sabbath Weekend to Prevent Gun Violence


Speaker Movita Johnson-Harrell

On March 13th, on the lawn in front of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, 130 t-shirts representing people killed by gun violence in DC in 2013 blew in the brisk wind. Inside, people representing member organizations in Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence gathered with some members of Newtown Families and elected officials to listen to remarks and to bless a group of first responders. This was followed by an informative and inspiring panel discussion, “What Has Happened and Where Are We Going?” After a reception for all gathered, there was a national webcast, “How the Faith Community Can Make a Difference,” followed by prayer for those remembered in the memorial exhibit on the front lawn. Vince DeMarco, director of Faiths United, thanked FAN for the number of Franciscan pledges to commemorate the weekend.

During the weekend nearly 1000 Faiths United remembrances were held around the country, including one in Aston, PA in the chapel of the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. The service was co-sponsored by the Sisters, Neumann University and Anna’s Place, a house of hospitality in Chester, PA which is sponsored by the Sisters and works in partnership with Heeding God’s Call. During the opening ritual, 33 pairs of shoes, representing those killed by guns in Delaware County, PA during the past year, were carried into the sanctuary by students, sisters, and members of the Chester community while names were read and a candle lighted for each person named.  A Gospel reflection was offered by Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF, FAN staff member, followed by remarks by Bryan Miller, Executive Director of Heeding God’s Call, and witness offered by Movita Johnson-Harrell who moved listeners to tears with her story of losing her father to gun violence, and years later, her 18 year old son. Movita is now a board member of Heeding God’s Call which holds a vigil every week outside a gun shop in Chester, PA in which Sisters of St. Francis participate.

FAN thanks all Franciscan groups who remembered victims of gun violence in some way during the March Sabbath Weekend. Here are some photos from the weekend:


Sr. Maria Orlandini lights a candle at the vigil service at the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.


FAN’s Sr. Marie Lucey speaks at the vigil service in Aston, PA.


Candles and shoes representing those lost to gun violence.


Bryan Miller, Executive Director of Heeding God’s Call.


Movita Johnson-Harrell offers her witness at the vigil service.

Published in: on March 18, 2014 at 11:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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