In the light of the Las Vegas shooting tragedy, Benedictine University wanted to display that the campus community will remain united after the nation was stricken with tragedy.
Stephen Paddock, 64, shot and killed 59 and left more than 500 injured during the Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night according to CNN. He shot from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. Paddock’s motives were unknown before he killed himself.
In the wake of this national tragedy, the University thought it would be right to hold a peace gathering in the memory of all those who lost their lives.
“Whenever these horrific tragedies happen in our world and in our community, we as a community want to create a space to be together in love and prayer,” said Campus Minister and Coordinator of Ecumenical and Interfaith Engagement Kathryn Heidelberger, “To remind one another that we aren’t alone, that God hears us and that our love for one another is powerful to stand against the senseless acts of violence that keep happening in our world.”
The gathering included Benedictine staff sharing stories from people who lost their lives at the shooting and survivors’ experiences during the event. Some of the stories were about people sacrificing their lives for their loved ones. Another story portrays the courage and valor of strangers becoming heroes.
While President Brophy couldn’t make the event, he did have a message for the student body.
“Our community is still in shock, in part because we have many Mesa students from Nevada,” said Brophy, “We are committed to the dignity of life and this horrific attack deeply saddens all of us. We pray for the many family members who must be impacted by this mass execution.”
While citizens continue to learn more about the shooting as the investigation continues, they also continue to learn more about the people who died. The gathering put faces to the statistics and was a wakeup call to all who attended.