'Hope Is Stronger Than Sorrow'

'Hope Is Stronger Than Sorrow'

Fr. Leahy celebrates Mass in New York City for BC alumni and parents lost in WTC disaster

More than 1,400 Boston College alumni gathered at New York City's St. Ignatius Loyola Church on Oct. 10 to hear a memorial Mass for members of the Boston College community who were lost in the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11.

University President William P. Leahy, SJ, celebrated the Mass with priests from the BC Jesuit Community, paying tribute to the 21 Boston College alumni and three parents of current BC undergraduates killed in the disaster. Vice President and Special Assistant to the President William B. Neenan, SJ, offered the homily.

Fr. Neenan said Boston College was the common bond that had brought the assembled together, "four short weeks" after the horrible acts of Sept. 11 and the gamut of reactions - sorrow, anger, fear and hope - that followed.

"We come to seek consolation, we come for understanding and we pray for light on the paths that stretch into our unknown futures," he said. "For similar reasons, thousands, on the morning of Sept. 11, drawn by the bells of Gasson Tower, converged on O'Neill Plaza to console, to be consoled and to seek understanding."

Fr. Neenan recalled how, later that day, thousands had come to a Mass in Conte Forum "where they had often cheered their Eagles in hockey and basketball victories but now in silence to join Fr. Leahy and dozens of Boston College priests to celebrate the Last Supper of the Lord and to be nourished at the Table of the Lord.

"Sorrow. Anger. Fear. And hope, definitely hope."

BC alumni victims ranged in age from John Cahill and John Doherty, whose graduating class celebrated their 35th anniversary this year, to Joseph Visciano, who had graduated last May. Among the parents killed Sept. 11 was Lt. Paul Mitchell, a New York City firefighter who was the father of College of Arts and Sciences junior Jennifer Mitchell and Carroll School of Management freshman Christine Mitchell.

"Where the Twin Towers once stood there is now simply vacant space, an absence in the sky," said Fr. Neenan near the end of his homily. "My prayer this evening is that when our gaze turns to the sky over Lower Manhattan we may recall that other vacant space, an absence, the empty tomb on Easter Sunday, and know that with God life can emerge from desolation; that hope is stronger than sorrow, that hope overcomes anger, that hope replaces fear."

Fr. Neenan spoke of "our responsibility to build an earthly city of justice and compassion that points to the eternal city.

"To this task this evening we will shortly return."

At one point in the Mass, the audience was asked to join hands and recite the names of those whose memories were being celebrated.

[The complete text of Fr. Neenan's homily is available on-line.]

Patrick Aranyos CSOM '97
Bryan C. Bennett A&S '98
Thomas M. Brennan A&S '91
John Cahill CSOM '66, husband of Sharon (O'Carroll) Cahill '76
Welles R. Crowther A&S '99
Danielle A. Delie CSOM '76
John J. Doherty LSOE '66
Thomas J. Fitzpatrick CSOM '87
Christopher J. Hanley A&S '88
Gary Lasko CSOM '73
Sean P. Lynch A&S '89
Stacey A. Sennas McGowan A&S '85, wife of Thomas McGowan '85
Daniel W. McNeal CSOM '94
William G. Minardi CSOM '77, brother of James Minardi '73 and Joan Scordamaglia '80
Peter J. Mulligan CSOM '95
John J. Murray CSOM '90
Edward J. Papa A&S '76
Bradley H. Vadas A&S '86
Edward R. Vanacore CSOM '94, CGSOM '95
Joseph G. Visciano CSOM '01
Kevin M. Williams CSOM '99

Kevin P. Connors, father of Karim Aryeh A&S '02
Joseph J. Coppo Jr., father of Joseph Coppo A&S '04
Lt. Paul Mitchell, father of Jennifer CSOM '03 and Christine A&S '05.

-Jack Dunn and Sean Smith


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