Vigil for Victims of Synagogue Shooting

Written by Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.
October 31, 2018

Dear Seattle University Community,

This past Saturday’s tragic and senseless killing of 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States. We join together to support and comfort our Jewish colleagues, students and friends during this extraordinarily painful time.

I invite you to a prayer vigil being organized by Campus Ministry at 1:10 p.m. Thursday afternoon, Nov. 1, in front of the reflecting pool and Chapel of St. Ignatius. We will gather as a community to mourn and remember the victims of this unspeakably atrocious, anti-Semitic act and pray for their loved ones and for all who are suffering in its wake.

Humanity has suffered greatly at the hands of hate and ignorance these past several days, be it the massacre of Jewish worshipers, the targeted killing of two African Americans at a supermarket in Kentucky or pipe bombs sent to political leaders. As a Jesuit and Catholic university, we stand firmly against this litany of horrific acts motivated by racism, anti-Semitism and other types of bias, along with the drumbeat of discriminatory speech and policies targeting vulnerable populations.

The tenets of our Jesuit mission–empowering leaders for a just and humane world–and our commitments to compassion, diversity, inclusion and equity should drive us forward in spirit and in deed. Let us rededicate ourselves to our mission, especially in these moments when it seems as though we are swimming against the tide.

I believe we must refuse to give in to the hateful noise that wants to drown out the sounds of goodness in people’s hearts and minds. We must refuse to give in to helplessness and hopelessness.

It is also important that we are attentive to those in our community who are struggling in the wake of this violence. Students needing support during this difficult time can visit Counseling and Psychological Services (PAVL 120) during urgent care hours (10 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday-Friday) or call 206-296-6090 for an appointment. Campus Ministers are available in Student Center 120; call 206-296-6075 or 206-296-6052 for an appointment. Staff and faculty seeking support can access SU’s EAP benefits through Wellspring. Please contact Human Resources for more information.

Being part of a Jesuit university calls us to work to better the lives of those who suffer at the hands of injustice and inhumanity by way of the examples and values that we work and live by. It means being peacemakers, reaching out compassionately to one another and healing a broken world.

In prayer and peace,

Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.