As a result of the March 11 shooting involving football player CoryMitchell, St. John’s University has put its best foot forward to correctany emotional scars the incident might have caused.
On Friday afternoon approximately 130 students, faculty and staffgathered at Our Lady of Lourdes chapel to participate in a prayerservice against violence.
“All of us, in some form or another, are victims,” said the Rev. JamesMaher, C.M. who presided over the Mass. “In some way violence has comeinto our community and, like it or not, has affected us and changed us.”
Maher pointed out the importance of keeping one’s faith during thistrying time. “Even though violence has come into our community, we haveto have the faith to be able to trust that God will pull us through.”
Maher referred to the story of Joseph being sold to the Egyptians by hisbrothers and compared it to the current situation at St. John’s.”Although an outsider had come into our community and caused great harm,we say, like Joseph, God will make good of it.”
The meeting was a who’s who of the St. John’s Athletic Department ascoaches and players from various teams attended the service. “I saw it[the service] as a positive healing tool for the community,” said BobRicca, head coach of the St. John’s football.
Campus ministers were present in cafeterias around campus offeringcomfort throughout the week. The Counseling Center did its part byalleviating any concerns and answering questions that students have.
Counselors at the center were notified within the hour after theshooting occurred Sunday morning, said Dot Schmitt, assistant to thedirector at the center.
“We were available the next day for anyone that wanted to talkimmediately,” Schmitt said. “We’re on call. God forbid, if any crisiscomes up, we see those cases first.”
The center has put an emphasis on programs such as anger management,conflict resolution and violence in relationships since the shooting.These programs have been offered throughout the year.
“It’s not like we’re offering this for the first time,” Schmitt said.”We want to get the word out [about the programs], but not by whathappened.”
So far Schmitt and other counselors at the center have consoled morethan a handful of students since last Sunday night. Most students havevoiced the same concern about the incident.
“It’s been just feeling bad about what’s happened,” Schmitt said addingthat everything is kept confidential.
The center is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Counselors canbe reached by cell phone and that number can be obtained from ResidenceLife for use by resident students. For students seeking counsel, anappointment can be made in Marillac Hall, Room 130.