We Stand In Prayerful Solidarity

A cross in the Abbey ChurchThis morning, we once again awoke to news of tragedy and senseless bloodshed in Dallas; earlier this week, in Louisiana and Minnesota. As we all continue to grieve this violence and tension in our country, the merciful love of Christ calls us to solidarity with the suffering and to ever greater resolve in protecting the life and dignity of every person. Please know the Saint Anselm community stands in prayerful solidarity with all alumni, parents, and friends.

These events bring to mind the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: "Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding a deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only love can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

If you would like to share a special intention, I invite you to submit a Grotto Prayer Request. Please be assured of our continued prayers for all those affected in the days and weeks ahead.

Prayer for our country:

Almighty and merciful God, you never depart from us even in the worst of times; be with us in our sadness. We pray for those who have died or been injured by the recent violence in our country. For those in law enforcement who serve and protect our communities, and those taken in this tragedy. We hold in our hearts the families forever changed by grief and loss. Bring them consolation and comfort. Surround them with our prayers for strength. May they have the courage to face the days ahead and find peace in your presence.

God of understanding, we are overwhelmed by the magnitude of this violence, we seek your light and guidance as we confront such terrible events. Comfort and console us, strengthen us in hope, and give us the wisdom and courage to work tirelessly for a world where true peace and love reign.

Help us to respond with generosity in prayer, in assistance, and in comfort to the best of our abilities. Keep our hearts focused on the needs of all the community. Reconcile all peoples who are divided and send your Holy Spirit to make all one in the peace and the justice that you alone are capable of giving us. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Amen.

The Tragedy in Orlando

I know that our entire community shares my sadness today, as we continue to receive updates and news about Sunday's terrible shooting in Orlando, the deadliest in U.S. history. All of our thoughts and prayers go out, not only to the victims, families and friends of all those who were wounded or killed by this senseless and hateful act of terrorism, but to the entire LGBT+ community, who appear to have been targeted.

Yesterday at 12:30, Campus Ministry, along with the President’s Steering Committee for Diversity and Inclusiveness, The Core Council for Gay and Lesbian Students and the Multicultural Center, held a Moment of Prayer at the Grotto.

Anselmians gather at the campus grotto for a prayer serviceOur hearts are with those who are suffering, as today we offer our prayers, hopes and resolve for a more peaceful, loving future for Orlando, our nation and the world.

A Message to the Class of 2016

Alumni Hall on the campus of Saint Anselm CollegeI am pleased and proud to offer my very warmest welcome to the families and guests who join us today and my heartfelt congratulations to our graduates on this auspicious occasion. Today marks Saint Anselm College’s 123rd Commencement Exercises. Soon, our graduates will leave campus with diplomas in hand. Although you will soon move on, know that you are always welcome to return. I hope that you will never forget this Hilltop that became your home over the past four years.

Today represents a collective triumph, not just of the Class of 2016, but of your professors, administrators, staff and monks of Saint Anselm Abbey who have guided and supported you on this journey. From the admission officer who first inspired a young person’s interest in Saint Anselm and the dining hall employee who served up encouraging words as well as meals along the way, to the faculty member who graded the last exam and will serve as a mentor for decades to come, today is a shared celebration. Sharing in this gratitude as well are your parents and families, whose caring presence has sustained you over the past four years in ways large and small, and who now proudly watch as you prepare to take your next steps forward, strengthened by that foundational love and support.

Commencement represents hundreds of individual journeys of personal and academic growth, of goals set and achieved, majors selected and abandoned, discoveries made, relationships formed and horizons opened. Whether it was a service opportunity that changed your career goals, an encounter with a presidential candidate, or a moment of triumph that came with carrying your team to victory, each graduate who ascends the stage today brings a personal story of joy, heartache and perseverance, sometimes against the most difficult of obstacles. With this celebration, we also remember in prayer today the parents, grandparents and other family members lost by these graduates who cannot be here with us.

Members of the Class of 2016: I have the honor of handing you a Saint Anselm diploma, after which you will go forth into the world. On behalf of your professors, I wish you the greatest success and happiness at The University of Notre Dame, Tufts University, Virginia Tech, Michigan State University, and the University of New Hampshire School of Law; in hospitals, banks, schools, police departments and corporate headquarters; in the heady corridors of political power and the heartbreaking streets and villages of the most vulnerable.

We send you with God’s blessings upon you and your families and upon the remarkable life of creative and generous service that lies before you. For you have learned in your four years what generations before you have also come to know: Anselmian today. Anselmian tomorrow.  Anselmian always.