Published: November 20, 2015
On Monday evening, University students, staff and faculty came together at the Sacred Heart Chapel and processed to the amphitheater of the Dionne Green. Two hundred members of our University gathered in silence, prayer and song in commemoration of those affected by this weekend’s attacks in Paris, Baghdad and Beirut. The mood was both heart-wrenching and impacting as an Islamic student, a professor from France, Director of Campus Ministries Helen Wolf, Ph.D., Coordinator of International Service Barbara King and students spoke to our community about humanity’s cry for God to intervene. The sense of togetherness was tremendously evident. First-year Nick Capobianco, who came up with the idea to host the vigil, commented on The University’s reputable sense of community.
“After watching the new coverage of the Paris attacks, working to help preserve and strengthen our campus community was a natural and easy decision to make,” Capobianco said.
Perhaps something that also contributed to making the vigil so powerful was the representation of members of different religions and ethnicities. Celine Langlard, a French fessor here on campus, is from Northern France and is here in Scranton for the year. She was moved with gratitude at the response from The University to a crisis that took place so far away.
“Standing together is the answer. The idea of the service was to promote peace and compassion instead of hatred—and it turned out to be extremely powerful,” Langlard said. She was speechless at the concern and care we expressed, and is eager to tell her family in France about The University’s humanitarian act of love.
As I sat on the cold cement during the service, I couldn’t help but look at my surroundings. The brightness shining through the windows of DeNaples Center, the flickering mini lights in the hands of my peers around me, and the stars above us. We are drawn to light. We bask on sunny days, stare in awe at a shooting star and even look forward to pinning mini decorative lights in our dorms and apartments. Humanity is accepting towards light because it is comforting in its ability to provide exposure. What about darkness? I think we apprehend and fear darkness because of its ability to disguise. Darkness results in distress because it is associated with the unknown.
As I prayed in the lit-up darkness alongside 200 others, I pondered this unknowingness. Concerning all the recent hatred in the world, we are unknowing of the type of society that is ahead of us. And I will not be the first to admit that this is a scary thing. Yet despite this dark unknowing evil, we gravitate towards light because God is light and we can see God’s light through people. I believe that the way to begin resolving this crisis is by expecting goodness out of our friends, neighbors and even strangers. We are called to love and be loved, and The University community embodied this call through our coming together at Monday night’s vigil. Together, we should work for justice, pray for peace, hope for a better future and expect goodness from our brothers and sisters. That is light.
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