Week of tragedies stun campus


Death, especially at our age, seems very far away. As 18 to 21 year-olds, we have a tendency to believe we are invincible and impervious. That is why death, especially the death of a young person, is such a shock. And yet, this past week we were greeted with four messages in our in-box reporting on the deaths of two Augustinians and two students.

The deaths of Rev. Stephen LaRosa O.S.A. and Rev. Terrance William Hyland, O.S.A., although sad, are not nearly as shocking. These two men were distinguished priests who had lived long, rich lives of service to God and their fellow man, and this helps us take solace in their passing. The deaths of two students, Dominic D’Alicandro and Brett Andersen, both barely over 20 years of age, leave their friends and community looking for answers.

If nothing else, loss is a reminder of how fleeting life is, and it is important that we take time as a community to mourn and celebrate the lives of those who died. In the tributes which were compiled for both Andersen and D’Alicandro, you will read about two well-rounded, caring young-men who were loved by friends and family. Both Brett Andersen and Dominic D’Alicandro Jr. were remembered for the fact that they genuinely cared about everyone they met.

It is hard to see reason in the death of anyone, especially two young men such as the ones who died over fall break. However, the lesson that can be learned from their deaths is to appreciate the people in your life.

By all accounts, Andersen and D’Alicandro were the type of people who valued their friends and family above all else. Their priorities were in the right place. In today’s world, there is a tendency to place other things on a pedestal. People value money, or power, or possessions, all the while neglecting the important things in their lives; people.

There are no certainties in life. As the tragic deaths this past week taught us, we don’t know how much time we have here. It is important then that we have our priorities straight. The most important things in our lives aren’t the cars we drive, the amount of money in our bank account, or even what our grade-point average is.

What matters, and maybe what is the only thing that matters, is the people in your life and your relationship with them. Brett Andersen and Dominic D’Alicandro Jr. got it.

Do you?