BY: Carolyn Lisboa
On Sept. 11, Sacred Heart University held its 9/11 Remembrance Mass in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.
The service was organized by Campus Ministry, while the music was provided by the University Liturgical Choir. The liturgy was co-celebrated by Fr. Michael Ramos, Director of Campus Ministry Chaplaincy, along with Fr. Tony Ciorra and Fr. Bruce Roby.
Students and faculty members poured into the chapel on Monday afternoon, highlighting the outstanding support system found in the Sacred Heart community. The solemn nature of the occasion set the tone of the Mass while the hymns sung contributed to the overall atmosphere.
“I had a beautiful experience here today. I came not only to spend quality time with my Father, but to support a friend who lost her mom to the 9/11 attacks,” said sophomore Theresa Torony. “It truly is fantastic to see the community come together as one in this way.”
The readings focused on the promise of the Holy Spirit to the apostles and Jesus’ own anointing as he began his ministry.
In his sermon, Fr. Michael Ramos synthesized the Holy Spirit-centered liturgy with the 9/11 remembrance theme. He stressed the importance of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and how they can be utilized in order to be better members of the Sacred Heart community and to build the church at large.
“Today, we commemorate the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As we take the time to remember the people whose lives were taken away by this senseless act and the first responders who made brave sacrifices to support those affected, we experience the best and worst in humanity,” said Fr. Ramos. “The Spirit of God animates in us the strength to act and think as Jesus did…on this day especially, we pray to the Holy Spirit to strengthen us so that even in a world surrounded by hate and violence, we may be among the best in humanity.”
The Prayer of the Faithful included special requests for the Holy Spirit’s guidance throughout the new academic year as well as brought to mind all the victims of 9/11, followed by a moment of deep silence.
“I thought the homily was very meaningful. I especially liked the priest’s message on the best and worst in humanity,” said sophomore Andrea Dogal. “Coming here today was just my way of showing my support for the Sacred Heart community.”
While a number of students attended the ceremony to simply offer their support, others had more specific intentions, one of which involved being there for a friend.
As a tribute to the victims of 9/11, Campus Ministry put together a poster board for students to fill with names of loved ones and people they knew who lost their lives on that fateful day.
“I’m from Brooklyn, and 11 people from my elementary school, and 23 people from my high-school lost their lives on 9/11,” said sophomore Gavin Thurow, after adding his own special mentions to the poster. “I came here just to seek solace…being so far away from home on this day brings on a sort of separation anxiety and I’m really thankful that I could spend my time here this afternoon. “SHU just has a way of making the worst days seem better.”