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President's Remarks

september 11, 2003

Fr. William P. Leahy, SJ speaking at podium

On September 11, 2001, a day that seared the hearts of all Americans and so many around the globe, the Boston College community gathered to pray for those who died in the terrorist attacks that morning, their families, our nation, and our wounded world. We also gathered to be present to one another in a time of great uncertainty.

A year later, we again came together in prayer and to once again be a community that remembered and mourned.

Today, we are here once more to remember, to pray, and to be a sign of support for all those who still grieve, especially for the families of the 22 Boston College alumni who perished on September 11 and for all alumni and friends of Boston College who lost loved ones on that day. Our presence here in communion with you reflects our values as a Jesuit, Catholic institution, and our heritage as a university: a place that is Alma Mater to its students, faculty, staff, and graduates.

But we are also here this afternoon to establish a legacy in the name of those lost members of our community, to dedicate this ground as an eternal memorial labyrinth. Today, with the power of our faith, hope, and love, we consecrate this labyrinth in memory of 22 students who once walked the paths and lawns of this campus. We bless this place in their names, in gratitude for their lives, their gifts, their love, their very presence among us. They were taken in violence, and in their name, and in the name of truth, we dedicate an everlasting place of prayer.

Labyrinths have long been a symbol of life’s journey, and in medieval times they became associated in the Christian religious imagination with the pilgrimage to Jerusalem—the primal journey through uncertainty and trial to God. We have surely known trial and uncertainty in these last years. We have known pain and doubt. Perhaps we have felt lost on our journey, uncertain of our next steps.

May this labyrinth, influenced by the faith of medieval pilgrims, built in loving memory, dedicated today in prayer and community, forever be a place of healing, consolation, and peace.

May its presence on the Boston College campus call us to understand that even in darkness, there is a path on which we can walk. Even in confusion there is grace to guide our journey. And even when we seem to stand most distant from where we began, we can turn yet again toward home, moving according to the sure compass of God's enduring love.