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A message from Loyola President Terrence M. Sawyer, J.D., on the events in Israel, Gaza, and Palestine

| By Terrence M. Sawyer, J.D.
Loyola community gathers outside Alumni Memorial Chapel
Loyola community members gather to pray outside Alumni Memorial Chapel

Terrence M. Sawyer, J.D., president of Loyola University Maryland, issued this statement on the events in Israel, Gaza, and Palestine:

As we observe the terror attack and continued escalation of the violence in Israel and Gaza, we are horrified. While it may be difficult to see beyond our own reaction, I encourage you to keep in mind that these events are especially painful for members of our community who have close ties to what is unfolding.

Students, faculty, staff, and administrators here at Loyola have loved ones who have been harmed or are living in fear. Others may be carrying the weight of these events because of their religious or ethnic identities. As members of the human family, and as members of a Jesuit, Catholic university community, we grieve for and with them. We recognize the dignity and immeasurable value of human life. We condemn these acts of hatred, violence, and terrorism and pray for a timely, peaceful, and just resolution.

We are called to accompany those who are most affected during this time—walking with them in prayer and, if possible, other action, leading with love, and working for justice.

Prayer Opportunities
Last week, members of our Loyola family gathered to reflect and pray by the Peace Pole outside Alumni Memorial Chapel. I am grateful to everyone who brought their prayers, voices, and presence to that time. The prayers from different faiths and in different languages united us and helped us bring light to darkness. Members of our community are invited to gather on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 3 p.m. at the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the Quad, as we join the Ordinaries of the Holy Land in praying the Rosary for peace and reconciliation.

As Dr. Milton Bravo, our vice president for mission and identity, shared last week, we are remembering all those affected by these events at the daily Mass in Alumni Memorial Chapel. We will continue to create time and space for prayer, recognizing the strength that can come from entrusting our intentions to a higher power. Prayer changes us and helps us connect more closely with individuals and causes beyond ourselves, even as it reminds us that God is present even at the darkest times in human history.

Opportunities for Connection
Leaders across the University are working to create spaces where community members can come together for conversation and connection and identify academic and intellectual spaces to better understand and discuss these issues. We will share more details on those opportunities to connect in meaningful ways and deepen our understanding of complex issues.

Support Resources
This time in the semester also adds the stress of academic deadlines and pressures. Please give yourself the space to process and the time to connect with others, including family and friends.

If you need extra support as you process these events, please contact members of our community who are ready and available to serve students in the Counseling Center, Campus Ministry, ALANA Services, or the Office of Residence Life and Housing. Faculty, staff, and administrators are also welcome to seek support through Loyola’s Employee Assistance Program and our University Chaplain.

Our Prayer Today
During this time, I pray that we can support those among us who are in the most pain. I also invite you to use this moment as a time for us to resolve yet again to work to create a more just world. Even in the most challenging times, we can lead with love, work for justice, and step forward with hope.

Sincerely,

Terrence M. Sawyer, J.D.
President of Loyola University Maryland,

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