A Vigil for Solidarity

By: Joseph Ostapiuk | Graduate Assistant | MolloyLife Media

Photo By: Anarali Caridad | Staff Photographer | MolloyLife Media

Molloy College held a Vigil for Solidarity on the lawn of Kellenberg Circle on Thursday, November 1st.

The vigil was held just over one week after a man shot and killed two people at a Kentucky grocery store, and only five days after a shooting that left 11 people dead at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  

The man charged in the Pittsburgh massacre, according to CNN, was indicted on 44 charges, which include hate crimes against obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs, after the man made anti-semitic statements during the shooting.   The shooting is considered the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the United States, according to ADL, an organization which tracks anti-semitic incidents.   Stephen Salerno, a Junior at Molloy College, said "Violence is never a good thing, and it's good to pay respects and to show that everyone wants to come together and support each other instead of increasing the divide that is already happening in the country."  

Photo By: Katie Cunniff | Staff Photographer | MolloyLife Media

Approximately 300 students, staff and faculty attended the vigil, which began with a bagpipe rendition of "Amazing Grace," by Sophomore biology major, Erin McGrath. 


Catherine Muscente, the Vice President of Mission and Ministry, was the first speaker.   "We meet at this peace pole today to show our solidarity," Muscente said. "The same message here is written in six different languages: 'Let peace prevail on Earth."   The peace pole, which stood beside the speaker's podium, is a staple of institutions rooted in the Dominican tradition, Muscente said, and was chosen as the appropriate location for the vigil.  

Photo By: Bryan Rosado | Staff Photographer | MolloyLife Media

Despite the profoundly noticeable sense of sadness among those who attended the vigil, Muscente urged students to recognize the atrocities of the past two weeks as an opportunity to create lasting change.   "Molloy is a transformative institution, and this is a teachable moment for all of us," Muscente said. "We can be the difference we want to see in the world."   Suzanne Sorel, the Chairperson of the Music Department, sang a rendition of a Jewish prayer, which says, "Let us make peace for all the world."  

Photo By: Anarali Caridad | Staff Photographer | MolloyLife Media

Molloy College's newly-appointed Chaplain, Father Joseph Lobo, then read a prayer from the New Testament, which was followed by messages from four students on how they believe our generation can stop hatred and violence.  

News Content Editor for MolloyLife, Richard Staple, who was among the four students chosen to share a few words on ending violence, delivered a poignant message.   "Unfortunately, hatred has proven itself to be a formidable adversary, but there's nothing that universal love, compassion and understanding can't accomplish; love for one another, care for each other and pray for one another, and then hate will make a hasty retreat because love never fails," Staple said.  

With midterm elections rapidly approaching, Professor Paul van Wie stressed the need for students to "stand up and be counted." Van Wie heeded students to vote on November 6th, adding, "It is each of our duty to not be silent."  

Photo By: Bryan Rosado | Staff Photographer | MolloyLife Media

President Drew Bogner said that "Last week demonstrated the worst of humanity; the senseless killings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the Kroger supermarket in Jeffersontown Kentucky, and the pipe bombs delivered to political figures - all acts driven by hate."  

"At Molloy College, we stand for the best in humanity," Bogner said.

Bogner commented on the rapidly changing climate of American politics, saying, "I will not equivocate on bigotry." Echoing the sentiments delivered by previous speaker, Bogner encouraged students to act.  

"What you say, or choose not to say, builds the reality in which we live," Bogner said.             

Following a moment of silence, Sister Diane of Campus Ministries sang the "Prayer of St. Francis," and Catherine Muscente motivated students to continue the dialogue of the vigil, offering spaces for students to gather and foster constructive and supportive dialogue.