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Ebersol tragedy continues to touch community

Amanda Michaels | Wednesday, December 1, 2004

At the close of the Mass held in the Keough Hall chapel Tuesday night in honor of the Ebersol family and the soul of their youngest son Teddy, a letter of gratitude and grief from Charlie Ebersol brought the room to tears.Father Mark Poorman, vice president for Student Affairs and Keough’s priest-in-residence, read the letter aloud to the crowd of more than 150 students, staff and faculty that filled the chapel of Charlie Ebersol’s former dorm. Sobs punctuated the silence as Poorman himself choked back emotion at the senior’s simple yet powerful words.”Thank you for your thoughts, prayers and phone calls over the past few days – they helped me get through the past couple of nights. I wonder if you’ll ever know how much they mean to me and me family,” Poorman read. “I believe in God and God’s goodness, and I believe my brother Teddy is in a better place than all of us here. I ask that you pray with me that he is [in the peace of God’s presence until we can join him there] … I appreciate all the expressions of support, and feel your great love. Thank you so much, Charlie.”During the homily, Keough rector Father Peter Jarret reflected on the mystery of suffering, and the God who allows pain to touch our lives.”[We have] a God who healed men but didn’t take all pain and suffering away. Our God is a God who suffers with us,” Jarret said. “God is right with us. God is suffering with Charlie and his dad and his family, and it is God who has taken Teddy into new life.”Jarret spoke to the hope the season of Advent offers even in the midst of the community’s grief, and emphasized the importance of family.”[The Ebersols’ tragedy] reminds us how fragile life is, and that what matters most is the bonds we have with each other,” Jarret said.University President-elect Father John Jenkins joined Poorman and Jarret at the altar, and Charlie Ebersol’s friends offered up readings and intentions during the service. Afterwards, all in attendance were invited to sign a card of condolence to be sent to the Ebersols. Looking out amongst the sea of somber faces, Jarret stressed the importance of their gathering.”The fact that we have come together to pray is so important,” Jarret said. “Our prayers for Charlie and his family are translated by God into grace and strength, and any prayer we say, God prays with us.”

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