Jud Weiksnar, OFM, and a contingent of parishioners from Ss. Columba-Brigid Church took to the streets of Buffalo recently to advocate for an end to gun violence. The June 11 event, March for Our Lives Buffalo, was part of a one-day nationwide initiative called National March for Our Lives. Gun violence hit close to home last month for the friars and parishioners of Ss. Columba-Brigid, where Jud is pastor, when a mass shooting took place at a local supermarket less than two miles from the church. Ss. Columba-Brigid and the Franciscan Sisters of Stella Niagara were among the many sponsors of March for Our Lives Buffalo.
One hour prior to the march, Ss. Columba-Brigid parishioners joined the faithful of other congregations at Holy Cross Church, a sister parish, for a Rosary for Peace in multiple languages – praying for the singular intention of peace in Buffalo, the United States, Ukraine and the world, according to Jud, who wore his habit to the march to make the Franciscan presence felt at the event. At the march, parishioners displayed a Ss. Columba-Brigid banner and other signs with dramatic and poignant messages.
“People approached us to say they were so glad to see the Catholic Church represented at the march. Several participants came up to me because they either recognized the Franciscan habit from St. Bonaventure University, or they were simply curious and had questions,” said Jud.
“In addition to calling for an end to gun violence, March for Our Lives Buffalo had multiple goals – first, to honor the victims and families impacted by the mass shooting at the Buffalo supermarket; second, to raise awareness and support for universal background checks in all gun sales; third, to support a ban on assault weapons, and lastly, to call for the repeal of the protection of lawful commerce in arms act,” said Jud.
“We are grateful to the parishioners who participated in the march, and who represented our diverse parish,” he added.