14 Feb 2024
Fast for an End to Gun Violence

“Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking off every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6


On Ash Wednesday, members of Nuns Against Gun Violence gathered to pray for an end to gun violence and to dedicate ourselves to a Lenten fast for gun violence prevention. Nuns Against Gun Violence is a coalition of Catholic Sisters and their allies that affirms the value of human life through prayer, education, and advocacy for common sense, evidence-based gun violence prevention. The Sisters of St. Francis joined the coalition when it formed in April 2023.


As we move through the season of Lent toward the cross and resurrection, our faith calls us to reflect on our relationship to God and to consider whether we are following the path of Jesus Christ. Our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving assist us in assessing our lives, habits, and thoughts so that we can turn back to God. This returning to God is not an individual, isolated journey; rather, our relationship to God relates to our relationships with others and our responsibility to our communities, especially the most vulnerable among us.


As the prophet Isaiah notes, we can be lulled into falsely thinking that our fast is beneficial if we only think of ourselves, assume that we know what God asks of us, or ignore the plight of those around us (58:1-5). In contrast, God calls us to a different fast, a fast that frees not only ourselves but others, a fast that brings our world closer to the reign of God.


“Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking off every yoke? Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry, bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:6-7)


This fast is a call to bring peace and justice to our world, which in turn draws us closer to God.


It is with this in mind that Nuns Against Gun Violence invites people to fast for gun violence prevention. As Giffords Law Center for Gun Violence Prevention asserts, 43,000 Americans die from gun violence each year, which far exceeds gun deaths in other high-income nations. Gun violence is the leading cause of death of children and teens and disproportionately affects communities of color. These individuals and their families, friends, and communities continue to be affected by the emotional, financial, physical, social, and spiritual costs of gun violence. Our fast can draw attention to the continuing suffering and trauma of those affected by gun violence. Moreover, publicly acknowledging our fast can call our federal and state legislators to pass legislation to assist victims and survivors of gun violence and to ensure that no more life is lost due to gun violence.


To influence federal legislation, Nuns Against Gun Violence is focusing on three pieces of gun violence prevention legislation:



Each of these pieces of federal legislation seeks to make our society safer and to protect the most vulnerable among us. Those participating in the Lenten fast are encouraged to make their fast public on social media or to contact members of Congress to advocate for the passage of this life-saving legislation.


To demonstrate your commitment to undertake this fast, please complete this form. More information and resources for contacting members of Congress are available on our website: www.nunsagainstgunviolence.org.


And so, we ask you to join us in this Lenten journey. Join us as we fast for an end to gun violence. Join us as we call on our legislators to enact laws that will protect the vulnerable. Join us as we promote peace and nonviolence within our societies and turn again to our God of Life.


To learn more about reducing gun violence, click HERE.

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