Walk for Peace remembers, honors victims of Parkland massacre

Kristen Castillo, Editor-in-Chief

For many students, office hour usually consists of cramming homework and running back and forth from classes making up tests. Typically only available to seniors for silent reflection, the Grotto was open to all students during office hour on Wednesday to participate in the Walk for Peace prayer service.

The Walk for Peace was organized by ASB, Campus Ministry and the Social Justice Club to honor the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that took place on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Fla. According to ASB leaders, the event was planned to initiate a conversation rooted in peace.

“We wanted to specifically focus on peace and how, in the wake of a tragedy, we must unite as one community and promote peace and unity as a Mater Dei community,” ASB President Christine Nguyen said.

During the prayer service, students recited the names of the 17 victims along with a description of their involvement at Marjory Stoneman and their relationships with others. Each victim’s name was followed by praying a Hail Mary.

“One of the things that struck me was that as the names and their activities were being read,” religion teacher Steven Viau said. “I couldn’t help but think how [the students] could resonate.”

Following the prayer service, students were invited to sign a poster that will be sent to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School dedicated to the victims. Students also wrote words of peace on ribbons that were tied to a “peace tree” that will be planted in front of the ASB office.

“The ribbons on the tree not only serve as a symbol of peace and unity on a national level in support of the victims of the Florida shooting, but they also serve as a reminder for our very students and our members of the Mater Dei community that not all hope is lost and that life ultimately moves on,”  Nguyen said. “We want to keep the tree up for as long as we possibly can because it will be something that students can look at in times of sadness and despair and remember that everything will get better.”

Many students participated in the walk in support of the victims and to enact change.

“This is the best way to do it on this campus,” said senior Hanna Schulte, who attended the Walk for Peace. “Ultimately, we are the leaders of our future, so we have a responsibility to speak up and take action and to never give up on this cause and really make an impact.”