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It was a symbol of us coming together as one family’

Megan Doyle | Monday, September 12, 2011

Basilica bells tolled solemnly Sunday evening as a line of students processed from Hesburgh Library to the Grotto.

Each student quietly held a candle, glowing in the dark.

The procession followed a Mass of Remembrance on the quad outside Hesburgh Library to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Fr. Edward “Monk” Malloy, the University president at the time of the attacks, delivered the homily Sunday evening. He also presided over the Mass that was celebrated Sept. 11, 2001 on South Quad.

“It is eerie how similar this day is to the day of 9/11 10 years ago,” Malloy said. “It was sunny and bright, a kind of balmy September day. But it wasn’t until the early part of the morning that all of us can remember exactly where we were when we got the first news, and then we became transfixed by the images on television, the endless video loops of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers.”

Students, faculty and community members gathered on the grass and listened in silence as Malloy described the events of that day.

“We struggle in the midst of situations like that to make sense of reality, the human capacity for evil, a recognition of our need for solidarity and support in the most difficult times that we inevitably face,” Malloy said.

Despite the confusion and sorrow of that day, Malloy recalled the sense of unity in the student body during that first Mass in 2001.

“One of my most vivid memories was when, at the Lord’s Prayer when normally you gather hands, they locked arms like the Alma Mater,” Malloy said. “It was a way that we could have intimate, personal contact with one another to say, ‘I’ll be there for you now and in the days ahead.'”

During the Our Father on Sunday evening, senior Stephanie Myers said students standing near her wrapped their arms around each other to mirror the Mass 10 years before.

“It was a symbol of us all coming together as one family,” she said.

During the prayers of intention, student body president Pat McCormick read a list of the names of the members of the Notre Dame community killed Sept. 11.

The list included four Notre Dame alumni — 1951 graduate Fr. Francis Grogan, 1962 alumnus Robert Ferris and 1977 graduates Dora Marie Menchaca and Lt. Col. Neil Hyland, Jr.

He also read 25 names of people related to Notre Dame graduates killed in the attacks.

“For all those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks 10 years ago today in New York, in Washington and in Pennsylvania, especially fire fighters, police officers and emergency technicians … We pray to the Lord,” McCormick said.

Members of the Notre Dame Security Police and the Notre Dame Fire Department brought the offertory gifts down the aisle.

Freshman Sam Bevilacqua said the atmosphere throughout the Mass and the candlelit procession was “somber.”

“It was also a peaceful time to reflect on the events of 10 years ago,” Bevilacqua said. “The whole experience, the students linking arms, was a very moving time.”

As he faced the silent crowd, Malloy said that the Mass, so similar to the campus Mass on Sept. 11, 2001, was still a chance to unite around a tragedy and support one another.

“Even in our family here at Notre Dame, we have known loss in 9/11,” Malloy said. “And so in our memory, we recall what once was. We recognize that when we are our best in this community, we are together in mutual support and prayer.

“Let our presence here tonight be one more sign that God abides in the community, a community of faith, of intellectual inquiry and of service.”