University gathers to remember 9/11 at mass

St. John’s commemorated the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11 with events spread out across the Queens and Staten Island campuses, last Thursday.

Along with a candlelight vigil, the Queens campus hosted a special mass during common hour at St. Thomas More Church.
“The 9/11 attack had a direct impact on St. John’s as what happens to New York happens to St. John’s,” said Rev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M., Executive Vice President of St. John’s University. “The mass helps us to remember not only those who died but also how we should come together as a people.”

According to Rev. Griffin, the turnout this year grew compared to last year.

Frank and Maryann Sherry, of St. Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, parents of victim John Sherry said that they normally go to their church to memorialize their son but decided to come to St. John’s this year since their grandson, Michael, is a sophomore. “This wonderful service uplifted me,” Frank said.
Since it was the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the focus was then shared with grieving families.

“The mass is normally used to bring everybody together,” Rev. Griffin said. “But we believe that those who have gone are still with us in spirit.”

Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M., President of St. John’s University, presided over the service alongside Most Reverend Alfonso Cabezas Aristizabal, C.M., retired Bishop of Villavicencio, Colombia.

Many students said they hoped the sacrament can bring solace for the grieving families.

“Personally it brought me to tears,” said Annette Legniewski, student leader. “I hope this mass can provide some peace for the families.”

Rev. Griffin said he is confident the Mass will continue in future years as being a part of a Vincentian community.