Bishop Michael C. Barber has taken a leadership role in supporting community Ceasefire walks to combat violence in the Diocese of Oakland's neighborhoods. Ceasefire participation had dwindled over recent months with fewer people doing the monthly walks that call for an end to gun violence in our communities. Violence, unfortunately, was once again on the rise. Bishop Barber decided to make Ceasefire a visible part of the diocese's activities for the Year of Mercy. The attention revived energy for all. As a result, the recent walk in Antioch drew over 200 people and included many priests from neighborhood parishes. The Bishop himself spent two hours in traffic so he could be there to lead the prayer at the beginning.
"I am so proud my Church is doing this and caring about an issue that means so much to me," commented one grandmother who had stopped taking her grandchildren to the local park for fear of gun violence. Pastors report that people continued to talk about the impact the event had on them weeks afterward.
Ceasefire includes all faith communities, and invitations have been issued to the mayor, police chief and other officials to attend an upcoming April walk.