Nov. 5, 2018
SAINT VINCENT HOLDS VIGIL FOR TREE OF LIFE VICTIMS
LATROBE, PA – The Saint Vincent College community gathered to honor the 11 victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting with a solemn vigil of remembrance in the Mary, Mother of Wisdom Student Chapel on Thursday, Nov. 1.
Students, faculty and members of the Saint Vincent Archabbey took part in the service, with hymns, readings and reflections offered in memory of the victims who lost their lives on Oct. 27 while worshiping at the Squirrel Hill synagogue.
Saint Vincent senior Kayla Schehr, an early childhood education major from Irwin, provided opening remarks, saying “In our prayers tonight, may we be united with one another and with our Jewish brothers and sisters, helping them by standing with them in prayer to carry the burden of this terrible attack.”
Mary Anand, a sophomore biology major from Wexford, followed Scheher’s opening comments by reading an excerpt from “No Time for Neutrality,” an essay by Abraham Joshua Heschel. “Man has not advanced very far from the coast of chaos,” read Anand. “It took only one storm to throw man back into the sinister. If culture is to survive, it is in need of defenses all along the shore.”
Other readings on the evening included Psalm 88:2-19 and Isaiah 43:5-7, read by junior theology and philosophy double major Andrew Conley of Grove City and junior biology major Morgan Casto of Johnstown, respectively, while reflections were offered by theology instructor Patricia Sharbaugh, Ph.D., Benedictine community member Rev. Lawrence Machia, O.S.B., and Rev. Thomas Hart, O.S.B., Saint Vincent assistant to the president for mission.
Hart quoted 1971 Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, saying, “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes or political parties, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts… Even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained, but even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil.
“We must defeat the lie that underpins violence,” he continued, “caused by our increasingly deficient and fractured moral sense. Violence cannot conceal itself behind anything except lies, and lies have nothing to maintain them save violence. Defeat the lie!”
Following the readings and reflections, candles were lit and a bell was rung as the names of all the victims were read aloud. Saint Vincent College president Br. Norman Hipps, O.S.B., then offered closing remarks and a prayer before dismissing the congregation.
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PHOTO 1: Br. Norman Hipps, O.S.B. (left) leads attendees in singing the hymn O God Our Help in Ages Past.
PHOTO 2: Candles are ready to be distributed to the congregants.
PHOTO 3: Eleven candles sit in front of the altar to be lit to honor the 11 Squirrel Hill victims.
PHOTO 4: Br. Norman Hipps, O.S.B. gives closing remarks, before dismissing the congregants with a prayer.
All photos courtesy of Thomas Fitzsimmons
Jim Berger, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications for Public Relations
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