Archdiocese of New Orleans students to stand in silent prayer for 17 minutes

NEW ORLEANS – All students at Archdiocese of New Orleans schools will observe 17 minutes of silent prayer tomorrow in remembrance of the 17 students killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this month.

The 35,000 Catholic school students will stand in silence beginning at 10 a.m. and pray for the victims and survivors of the Parkland shooting and pray for peace in our communities, according to Archdiocese spokesperson Sarah McDonald.

The students will pray the rosary and Our Family Prayer, a prayer against violence, murder, and racism.

“Our children deserve to be safe in our school communities,” Superintendent of Catholic Schools Dr. RaeNell Houston said. “I am a witness to how God answers prayer. And we felt our time was best utilized and our statement would be bold if we dedicated that 17 minutes of prayer on behalf of the Florida victims and our country and for the safety of our children.”

School officials will also speak to the students about the situation facing schools nationwide and encourage responsible dialogue, McDonald said.

“I have asked all school administrators to revisit their protocols, practice their drills and make sure they implement some type of buzzer or security measure – whether it is a key card, physical buzzer at single entrance,” Houston said. “Most schools require visitors to report to the office and either sign in or show their ID and get a badge.”