Saint Mary’s honors victims of 9/11
Alex Winegar | Thursday, September 11, 2014
The Saint Mary’s College community gathered Thursday night for a candlelight ceremony to remember those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.
After an opening prayer and song, senior Kristen Millar read a verse from the book of Lamentations, and then delivered a sermon.
“Being in the States it is hard to wrap our heads around such tragedies, and it is easy to feel hopeless and fearful for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ,” Millar said. “However, this reading calls us to put our trust in God, for when we trust in God we are able to have hope.”
September 11 is a date no one will forget, and for many it is still painful to think about, Millar said.
“God’s favor, love and mercy are being poured out here among us who remain hopeful, faithful and united in trust with one another, in communion,” Millar said. “Thus, we alone will not have peace until we are united with one another.”
Bellacappella, a Saint Mary’s a cappella group, provided a song for the ceremony and the community offered prayers for peace around the world.
“There is an opening prayer calling on God to be with us in this time and to pray for a banishment of violence in the world,” Judy Fean, director of campus ministry, said. “It’s not just this event, but it’s calling all of us to peace and remembering all those impacted, especially all those countries that are suffering at the hands of violence right now.”
The Holy Cross family was impacted personally on 9/11 when a Saint Mary’s alumna and Holy Cross priest were killed. The student presider encouraged those participating to say the name of the person they remember out loud.
“We will light candles being a sign of hope, being a sign of light in the darkness for people and reminding we are a community,” Fean said. “We lost one of our alums in 9/11, her name was Suzanne Kondratenko, and actually a Holy Cross priest was killed. So for the Holy Cross family, this is an important day to remember. Fr. Francis Grogan and a niece of Fr. Peter Jared was a flight attendant on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.”
Fean said she remembers driving to work and hearing about the first crash, and she and other faculty members saw the second tower fall on TV.
“We were meeting because we knew we had to respond and bring the community together,” Fean said. “This was something we’d never experienced and hoped we’d never experience. We planned a service that we all were to come at noon in Regina Chapel. Classes were cancelled at that time so we could all be there.”
Saint Mary’s College president emeritus Marilou Eldred led a service in Regina that day.
“We were very concerned about anyone who was trying to connect with their own family, people who lived in New York, people who worked in the towers, people who were in Pennsylvania, people who were in the Pentagon,” Fean said. “At that point we were not calling it a terrorist attack, but we knew there had been many deaths.”
Fean said the readings and songs of the ceremony invited the community to have hope and experience the light of Christ. It is to remind the community that we as humans are not alone.
“It calls us to a greater responsibility to peace and it’s important to remember in order to not see something like this ever happen again,” Fean said. “It’s a call to each of us to work towards [peace], it isn’t just one person or one group, I think that’s what it reminds me of. That this is about my responding to bring peace to the world, bringing awareness to that.”
“This day will never be the same,” Fean said. “This day will always bring a different memory, even if you weren’t old enough to remember it.”