As the nation reacted to President-elect Donald Trump’s victory over former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, more than 200 members of the Georgetown community gathered in Dahlgren Quadrangle for an interfaith prayer service yesterday afternoon.
Hosted by Campus Ministry and the Georgetown University Student Association, the service centered on themes of healing and unity following the divisive campaign season.
The service followed a day of heightened emotions on campus. As the election results were announced early Wednesday morning, students congregated at the White House, where protests continued through the night.
Earlier on Tuesday, more than 500 students attended an election watch party in the Healey Family Student Center. Chaplains and members of student religious groups offered prayers at the service and encouraged the community to use campus resources, such as Counseling and Psychiatric Services and the chaplains’ offices.
Protestant Chaplain Olivia Lane read an adaptation of “A Prayer for the Government,” written by Archbishop John Carroll in 1791.
“We pray, God of might, wisdom and justice, assist with the spirit of counsel and fortitude the president of these United States,” Lane read, “by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality.”
Several students present at the gathering cried and embraced one another. Eriss Donaldson (COL ’19), who attended the event, said the scene at the prayer service reflected the atmosphere on campus yesterday.
“Most of the people that I’ve seen on campus walking around look so defeated. They look so tired,” Donaldson said. “It’s in everyone’s faces. It’s in the faces of our LGBTQ members on campus, it’s in the faces of the minorities on campus, it’s in the faces of the allies on campus.”
GUSA President Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) said the gathering was important to help unite members of the campus community.
“More than ever, we as a community need to come together and, hopefully, that will result in more community efforts moving forward, in solidarity and using resources,” Khan said.
Roman Catholic Chaplain Fr. Gregory Schenden, S.J., urged those in attendance to work to develop solidarity across campus.
“Take a moment and look around at one another. We’re all quite unique, but we’ve all come together today,” Schenden said at the service. “Rooted in this basic understanding, right here, right now, of mutual love and respect. I think the real invitation, brothers and sisters, is to take the mutual love and respect that we presuppose here and now and take it out when we’re done here. That’s the invitation. That’s the challenge.”
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