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Prayers for Baltimore: A message from Loyola's president

| By Rita Buettner
Loyola University Maryland prayers for Baltimore
One of the Loyola students who gathered outside of the April 26 wake for Freddie Gray to offer prayers for the Gray family and for the city of Baltimore. (Photo courtesy Loyola campus ministry)

A message from Loyola University Maryland President Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.

Over the past week our Baltimore community has been reacting publicly and vocally to the circumstances surrounding the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray. Sadly, those peaceful demonstrations have been cast in the shadow of the more violent behavior we’ve witnessed in the news. Members of our Loyola family near and far are almost certainly watching with concern.

As challenging as this situation is, I find myself reflecting on how grateful I am to be at Loyola University Maryland right now. Especially because we are a Jesuit, Catholic university, this situation offers an opportunity for us to reflect on how each of us is called to work toward social justice, to give voice to the voiceless, and to be open to building community and finding common ground.

On Friday, April 24, a group of Loyola’s students independently organized a peaceful demonstration on campus specifically to bring attention to this issue. The University is continuing to find ways to bring the community together to reflect upon these events. It is at times like this when our campus family draws its strength from the values and sense of purpose that we share—and when we strive to look beyond our campus into the greater community.

Throughout the year members of our community have gathered to pray and reflect on how we can promote social justice in our city, our nation, and our world. At Loyola, we consider these issues with particular care for the individuals whose lives are touched by a need for social justice, an understanding of the burden on each of us to apply our education to enrich our community, and a commitment to work toward a better tomorrow for all.

On Saturday, April 25, members of the Baltimore community, including members of the Loyola community, participated in what largely was a peaceful demonstration downtown in hopes of seeking greater peace and justice. At Loyola, we are always mindful of ensuring the safety of our campus community—especially our students. We offer ways for our students to participate actively in the community, and they enthusiastically embrace Baltimore as their home for their years as students—and often for years afterward as proud Loyola graduates.

As I watch the news unfold in this city we love so dearly, I think of how our students make the most of their time in Baltimore. They enjoy our city’s vibrant cultural activities. They serve in our city’s schools, parks, and with a variety of organizations. They work together and with our many partners in the community in creating an even brighter tomorrow for this city, so rich in history and so positioned for a bright future.

Even in the challenging moments, we also find great hope for our city. This is a time when the Loyola community can come together with great pride, love, and determination to work toward peace and justice in our city—and in the world. I invite you to join our community in prayer for those who serve our communities in government and law enforcement and their families—and, of course, for the people of Baltimore.

Sincerely,

Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.
President

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