LATROBE, PA - On Saturday afternoon, Saint Vincent College Campus Ministry held a powerful and moving memorial service to remember the lives that were tragically lost 20 years ago in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Beginning with a Mass in the Mary, Mother of Wisdom Student Chapel, students and community members joined in prayer for this solemn occasion.
Following Mass, those gathered, led by bagpiper Paul-Luc Parks performing "Amazing Grace," processed from the chapel to Melvin Platz for a prayer service and received 9/11 memorial flags from the SVC Student Government Association. After a prayer offering and reading, the Ave Maria bell, traditionally rung at the end of the College's annual Spring commencement, was tolled 20 times to mark the 20 years since 9/11. As the echoes of the bell faded, trumpeter Matthew Boyer performed "Taps," and the ceremony concluded with the Saint Vincent Fire Truck proceeding down Skyline Drive.
Those who attended also had the opportunity to view and pray over a piece of a beam from the Twin Towers, which is traditionally kept in the mausoleum on campus.
"Creating a service during such a momentous occasion is so important for continued healing," said Father Maximilian Maxwell, O.S.B., Director of Campus Ministry, who celebrated the Mass and led the prayer service. "It's not only appropriate, it is most appropriate to do something like this."
In times of mourning, no matter the amount of time that has passed, Father Max knows the importance of bringing people together, which was another reason behind holding the service on Saturday.
"Mourning has a tendency of bringing about isolation," he said. "When we gather together in prayer, we can heal together and not feel isolated in and through the stages of grief that still affect us 20 years later."