As we returned to classes Monday following Saturday afternoon’s mass shooting in Buffalo, our school community paused for a moment of silence and offered a special prayer by Fr. Jim Martin, S.J. (below). After a day of classes that included conversations amongst teachers, students, and counselors about the continued presence of racial hatred and resulting violence, principal Adam Baber spoke to the student body during afternoon announcements:
Good afternoon. Before afternoon announcements I just want to take a minute to address what happened in Buffalo on Saturday afternoon when a gunman opened fire in a supermarket with the intent of killing black shoppers. Ten people were killed.
Witnessing such things happen when still in school is tough. Knowing that we live in an era when racial hatred still leads people to commit horrible acts is a difficult thing to wrap our head around. It raises questions that don’t have easy answers, or any answers. But it is really important that we never get to a point where such mass shootings feel normal or routine, things that just happen from time to time. Mass shootings are neither normal nor inevitable. They are not just another thing that appears on the news or on social media. They are tragedies that have life-altering effects on the families, friends, and communities affected.
As you may know, I am from Buffalo. I went to high school just four blocks away from the Tops supermarket where the shooting occurred. I have been inside that supermarket. I am still processing the fact that something like this happened in my hometown.
As citizens of our country, we owe it to ourselves and one another to reflect on why violence continues to occur – not just mass shootings, but also the many other acts of violence that happen every day and alter the course of our neighbors’ lives. All of us have a role to play in being peacemakers.
Please know that you should always feel welcome to speak with a trusted teacher, counselor, administrator, or mentor about your questions or reactions when tragedies like this occur.
Let us continue to pray for peace in our streets, healing in our hearts, and the hope that the last mass shooting of our lifetimes happened on Saturday in Buffalo.
At their regularly scheduled meeting Monday afternoon, members of the McQuaid Jesuit Board of Trustees discussed the impact of the shooting and commended the administration on its response of care and concern for our students, families, and community.
Today, Tuesday, eleven members of the class of 2022 embarked on their Capstone service project on the East Side of Buffalo where they will serve at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy and the Response to Love Center. We are humbled by the opportunity to be of service to the citizens of Buffalo at such a difficult moment.
All of us at McQuaid Jesuit will continue to keep the victims, their families, and the entire Buffalo community in our prayers.
A Prayer in the Face of Gun Violence (Fr. Jim Martin, S.J.)
Almighty God, I come before you, once again, after another shooting.
I am sad, God.
So I ask you to receive into your loving care the souls of those who were killed,
to care for those who were wounded or hurt in any way,
to console the family members and friends of those who died or were wounded,
to strengthen the hands of the rescue workers, medical professionals and caregivers
I pray too for the shooter, as I must as a Christian….
Turn my sadness into compassion.
Turn my tiredness into advocacy.
Turn my paralysis into the freedom to act.
to be compassionate,
and to act,
as your son did,