Singing and praying for peace

More than 30 students and community members gathered Tuesday night at Hendricks Chapel during the Vigil for Peace.

Hendricks Chapel provided a quiet refuge Tuesday night as students and community members took a few moments to pray for peace.

The Newman Association at Syracuse University’s St. Thomas More Catholic Center held its first ever Vigil for Peace. The event was designed to bring students of different faiths together for an hour of prayer, song, poetry, Scripture readings and reflection.

Photo: Jenna Ketchmark
Senior acting major Matt Tolstoy performs his rendition of The Beatles' "Let It Be" at the Vigil for Peace Tuesday evening. The event included song, poetry, prayer, Scripture readings and reflections on peace.

The SU student chapter of the Newman Association,  a Catholic organization that works to bring Christians together to discuss their faith, is led by seniors Sarah Heins and Stephanie Holmes.   

“We tried to cover different aspects of peace, because there are all different types of peace," Holmes said. " There is peace within ourselves, in the community, and then in the world.  We wanted to touch all the faces of what peace is with the different readings and songs.” 

With 30 people in attendance, the vigil began with a Scripture reading and prayer followed by senior acting major Matt Tolstoy's  rendition of The Beatles' song “Let It Be."  Although the crowd was small, Tolstoy said he enjoyed singing and playing during the vigil and was glad that Holmes asked him to perform. 

“I’m so glad I knew about it," Tolstoy said. "The problem with a big campus is that it’s so hard to let people know about events like this.  Such a wonderful thing [like the Vigil for Peace], falls through the cracks a lot of times."

Both Holmes and Father Linus DeSantis, the presiding campus priest of two years at St. Thomas More Catholic Center on Walnut Place, said the vigil presented a strong message: Hope for peace in the world for all people.

The program for the vigil included Martin Luther King Jr.'s acceptance speech as he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, a group reading of an adaptation of the peace prayer given by Pope Benedict XVI at ground zero in New York City, and two students reading the lyrics of “Let There Be Peace on Earth” in different languages.

Sophomore broadcast journalism major Krista D’Amore read a piece entitled “The Prophet,” and led the vigil attendees in singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”  

D'Amore described the event as "beautiful."

“There were more people than I expected and I thought it spoke a great message," she said.

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