Univ. responds to war with prayer, discussion

Babette Ford

Approximately 200 members of the University community gathered in the Grotto Sunday evening in prayerful support of peace.

The gathering, which was one of the 6,000 worldwide vigils that formed the Global Vigil for Peace, featured a series of student and faculty speakers led by Joyce Zavarich, a professor in the Center for Peace and Justice Education. Participants sang, prayed, expressed concerns and lit candles for peace.

“The goal is to create a moving curtain of light that will cross the globe,” said Zavarich.

Senior Rich Cooper was pleased that he attended the vigil. “It’s reassuring to know that here on campus there are events like the peace vigil where students can go and express their viewpoints in solidarity with faculty, staff and fellow students,” Cooper said.

Another student who participated said, “I am so distraught by the fact that I cannot change the minds and hearts of those who are making these decisions for war. I can only hope that since the ‘I’ is not influential enough, the ‘we’ will be.”

The Global Vigil for Peace, which was called by Bishop Desmond Tutu, the World Council of Churches, the American Friends Service Committee and other such religious and peace services, was a global attempt to express a plea for peace.

Over 6,000 vigils in over 135 countries participated.

On Wednesday evening, Campus Ministry offered an opportunity to pray quietly for peace and a presentation of “Peace and War” by Sanctuary, the University’s ritual music ensemble, in St. Thomas of Villanova Church.

From Thursday until 4:30 p.m. today, the University is presenting a conference called “Catholic Social Teaching on War and Peace: Pacem in Terris 40 Years Later.” The conference features presentations by University and visiting professors, authors and students.

Cooper approved of the University’s attempts to give students a forum to discuss the war. “Given Villanova’s Augustinian mission, the University is taking steps to stand up for what the Catholic Church believes is just in this time of confusion and frustration,” he explained.