Candlelight Vigil Faiths Unite After Terrorist Attack

By Arianne Aryanpur Hoya Staff Writer

Charles Nailen/The Hoya A man prayers during the InterFaith prayer service held in Gaston Hall.

In a poignant homage to the victims of Tuesday’s tragedies, students of all faiths gathered Wednesday evening in Copley Crypt for a silent candlelight vigil.

The vigil was part of an ongoing effort by Campus Ministry to provide the university community with ways to cope with recent events.

“I came here even though I didn’t know anyone involved [in the tragedies],” Lynn Desrosiers (SFS ’02) said at the vigil. “This is a way I could show my support – it’s the only thing we can do.”

People filled Dahlgren Quad with white candles in hand, singing songs and consoling each other. Rev. Brian McDermott, S.J., recited the opening and closing prayers and chaplains and students of various faith traditions participated in prayers of mourning.

“This is a test of a lot of people’s faith, regardless of what religion you are,” Cindy Martinez (SFS ’05) said.

Campus Ministry volunteers have been working around the clock since Tuesday when they held an afternoon prayer service in Leavey Grand Ballroom. A Muslim prayer service was held in Copley Formal Lounge Wednesday, followed by the 11:15 p.m. Catholic mass in Dahlgren Chapel.

Students congregated in Gaston Hall yesterday morning for an interfaith prayer service with D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams and Roman Catholic Cardinal of Washington Theodore Cardinal McCarrick. Co-sponsored by Campus Ministry and the InterFaith Conference of etropolitan Washington, the event included speakers from the Baha’i, Hindu-Jain, Islamic, Jewish, Latter-day Saints, Protestant, Roman Catholic and Sikh religious traditions.

The service began with gathering music played by the New Hastinapura Temple set to the background of different religious flags lined on the wall.

“We must never forget that it is `In God We Trust,'” McCarrick reminded the audience. “We know that He loves us and that He will see us through these dark days.”

Students and community members joined hands in prayer during the service and united in a responsive reading, “To Our Common Cause,” co-led by GUSA President Ryan DuBose (COL ’02).

The service concluded with a singing of “America the Beautiful,” after which attendees greeted their neighbors with words or signs of peace.

“There is so much division now that prayer feels like a way to come together again,” Erin O’Rourke (NHS ’04) said at the service.

In addition, the Copley Crypt and Muslim Prayer Room have remained open all night for individual prayer and reflection.

The Office of Campus Ministry in Leavey has left its doors open late into the night for those in need of counseling as well. Volunteers say their efforts will continue as long as there is a need by the university community.

“The office [in Leavey] will continue to be open,” Kevin Manz (MSB ’03), head of the Knights of Columbus and a volunteer counselor, said. “Chaplains have been here on staff until 2 a.m., students have been here until 4 a.m.”

Through its varied services, Campus Ministry hopes to bring together individuals of every religion during this trying time.

“At times like these, communities need to come together,” Manz said.

Volunteers encouraged the university community to take advantage of the many pastoral and counseling resources available including the support of resident assistants and chaplains in residence. 

Campus Ministry chaplains can be contacted at (202) 687-4300 and students in need of counseling services can call (202) 687-7243 to page a counselor on 24-hour duty.

Individuals who know victims of the tragedies can E-mail Father King at to request they be honored at ass.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.