'From Memory and Hope'

'From Memory and Hope'

University offers prayers for victims of Sept. 11 attacks

For a few moments, there was silence in St. Ignatius Church. Then, gradually, intermittently, from the congregation came the voices.

Each voice that sounded during the next several minutes spoke the name of a loved one, a relative, a colleague, a classmate.

Some voices were loud and forthright, echoing throughout the church, some were softer, more tentative, and others were barely audible except to those near them. But in each voice could be heard love, affection, remembrance and, above all, grief.

Members of the congregation join hands during Tuesday night's memorial Mass in St. Ignatius Church for Boston College alumni, family members and friends lost in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

So Boston College remembered those members of its community - alumni, family and friends - who were lost in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, at a memorial Mass Tuesday night in St. Ignatius.

Offering the homily, University President William P. Leahy, SJ, asked that as the BC community mourned for all those lost in or affected by the tragedy, "we recommit ourselves to be people who draw inspiration from memory and hope in our religious tradition."

Fr. Leahy, who celebrated the Mass with other priests in the Boston College Jesuit Community, emphasized the importance of hope and memory in dealing with such unimaginable events. Having spoken with bereaved parents and family members during the past six weeks, Fr. Leahy said he was struck by "the comfort of memory," recalling one mother who had found consolation in the many e-mails and letters she had received from those whose lives had been touched by her son.

"These moments remind us that God is present in our lives," said Fr. Leahy. "The challenge is to listen and look for Him."

Christian hope does not deny the existence of failure or death, Fr. Leahy said, but places it within the context of God's love.

Although the deaths on Sept. 11 "left us sad and sick at heart," and the evil which manifested itself that day was horrifying, Fr. Leahy said, "our hope and our religious faith was not vanquished. We proclaim our faith in one another, and in God and His compassion."

Fr. Leahy recalled the words of Isaiah: "They who hope in the Lord will renew their strength."

Also speaking at the Mass was Directory of Campus Ministry James Erps, SJ, who invited the congregation to join hands and speak the names of persons lost in the attacks. Director of Employee Development Bernard O'Kane offered general petitions for, among others, "all the heroes" in the tragedy as well as "all the ordinary people whose selfless generosity has made such a difference."

Members of the Liturgy Arts Group led the singing of hymns, including Psalm 27, with the refrain:
The Lord is my light and my salvation

Of whom should I be afraid?

Of whom should I be afraid?

[The list of Sept. 11 victims from the Boston College community may be viewed at www.bc.edu/bc_org/rvp/pubaf/01/the_list.html]

-Sean Smith


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