Several University offices and members of Fordham’s religious community came together in a united effort to provide spiritual support and guidance for students, faculty and staff members in the wake of the tragic events of Sept. 11. At Rose Hill on Sept. 11, all Masses were redirected to the University Church in anticipation of high attendance. Cardinal Avery Dulles’ 12:30 p.m. Mass drew a standing-room-only crowd, as did the 5:30 p.m. Mass celebrated by the Rev. Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., University president. “This is a difficult day for the country and for all the world,” Father O’Hare said. “We gather to listen to God’s word and recall his presence and confirm our trust in him despite the darkness that seems at this moment to shroud the Lord’s presence.”
Cardinal Dulles recalled the effect Pearl Harbor had on his generation and assured the audience that both peace and prosperity will again return to the nation, as they always have in the past. “In our studies of history and politics we tend to concentrate on the rivalries and struggles between different classes, races or nations,” said Cardinal Dulles in his homily. “But events such as we have experienced this morning prompt us to look deeper, at the invisible realm in which the forces of light and darkness, good and evil, clash in unceasing strife.
It is in this larger battle that we must take a position, if we want our lives to rise above the self-interest of the particular group to which we belong.” At the same time, similar sentiments were being expressed at the Lincoln Center campus. The Rev. Robert Grimes, S.J., dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center, presided over a noontime prayer service in front of a packed Pope Auditorium, preaching to students, faculty and administrators that “we cannot allow hate to triumph by learning to hate.” As the day went on, the Fordham community sought additional opportunities for reflection and communal support.
More than 500 people gathered on Edwards Parade at Rose Hill for a prayer vigil that evening, and the 10 p.m. Mass, celebrated by the Rev. Gerald Blaszczak, S.J., University chaplain, was well attended. “Clearly members of the Fordham community were anxious for an opportunity to be with one another during this very difficult time,” said the Rev. Gerald Blaszczak, S.J., University chaplain. “I was gratified that so many of our students chose to reflect on these tragic events in the context of their faith in order to kindle hope and give them direction.” Later in the week, when the University came together for the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Sept. 13 at Rose Hill.
Though Lincoln Center’s Mass of the Holy Spirit was had been postponed, the Office of Campus Ministry and United Student Government responded to the need for the community to be together by coordinating two prayer vigils for Sept 13, which drew more than 150 people.