Post-attack prayers with Jewish friends seek peace

October 31, 2018
Mark Tarnacki
Staff Writer
Lorraine with rabbi

In the header photo, Rev. Brian Cummings, S.S.E. ’86 addresses the assembled at Wednesday’s prayer service. Rabbi James Glazier is seated at left in the front. In the photo above, Saint Michael’s President Lorraine Sterritt and her husband Bert speak after the service with Rabbi Glazier, right, and James Byrne, both of the College’s religious studies faculty. (Photos by Mark Tarnacki)

On Wednesday of this week (October 31), the Saint Michael’s College community joined in the sorrow and mourning of the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh this past weekend by coming together in solidarity with the Jewish communities of our world, nation, greater Burlington and campus — and with all peoples.

More than 100 people turned out for what organizers called a ”Prayer service for Peace Among All Peoples,” shortly after noon in the Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel. They included Rabbi James Glazier of the College’s religious studies faculty, who helped in leading the prayer and joined silent reflections alongside Fr. Brian Cummings, S.S.E. ’86 of the College’s Edmundite Campus Ministry office.

Among those attending, too, was Saint Michael’s President Lorraine Sterritt — who noted in a communication about the service to the community that it was a time “to pause in remembrance and prayer for the victims, their families, and their communities.” She continued, “The College has a long history of welcoming students from all faith traditions who, though they may come from different backgrounds and religions, share a common desire to uphold the dignity of every person. Our place of worship is a fitting place for this reflection.”

Her note of empathy mentioned the Tree of Life synagogue shootings in particular to start, and also deeply mourned recent shootings in Kentucky that killed two African-Americans in a store following a thwarted attack attempt at a nearby Baptist church.

President Emeritus Jack Neuhauser, many Jewish members of the faculty and staff, with colleagues, students and Edmundites, were among the assembled. They  sang hymns calling for peace (led by Music Minister Jerome Monachino); and twice, poignantly, paused for extended silent prayer; they also heard readings from Isaiah and Psalms, from Sarah Klionsky of the College’s counseling staff, and from Dawn Ellinwood, VP for Student Affairs, respectively. Rabbi Glazier led the community prayer in a call-and-audience-response format, on themes of harmony and peace.

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