Northeastern University’s Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service held an interfaith vigil in the Sacred Space on Tuesday afternoon to mark the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings and to remember those affected by the tragedy.
About 60 people attended the remembrance ceremony, some donning Boston Strong t-shirts or Boston Marathon jackets in a show of solidarity.
In his remarks, Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun reminded those in attendance that many people are still recovering from the attacks of April 15, 2013.
“This is not a religious service. This is a human service that has brought us all here today,” Aoun said. “That day is going to stay with us forever. Many members of the Boston community are still struggling with what happened and our role is to be there for each other.”
Alexander Levering Kern, the center’s executive director, began the vigil by noting the solemn feeling in the city’s atmosphere on Tuesday. “Everywhere there are quiet markers of the marathon, large and small,” he said. “It is right and good for us to look back lest we forget. Of course, we can’t forget.”
After a moment of silence, a bell was rung four times in honor of the four people who were killed by the bombings or in the wake of the attack. Martin Richard, Lu Lingzi, and Krystle Campbell were killed in the explosions on Boylston Street on April 15, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier was killed by the bombing suspects during an ambush on April 18, according to law enforcement authorities.
During the vigil, two of the center’s spiritual advisers shared their experiences from that tragic day a year ago.
Harrison Blum, the Buddhist spiritual adviser, was serving as chaplain at Brigham and Women’s Hospital on Marathon Monday. He said he witnessed a score of selfless acts that day, including emergency room patients allowing victims be treated before them and people bringing in doughnuts and coffee for the hospital staff.
“I sometimes say that hospital chaplaincy is the front lines of chaplaincy,” Blum said. “On that day it felt like it was chaplaincy in the front lines.”
Kaitlin Ho, the Intervarsity Multi-Ethnic Christian Fellowship spiritual adviser, was volunteering at the finish line when the bombs went off. “Everyone was looking at each other and searching each other’s faces for what to do,” she said. “There was this shared sense of confusion and fear.”
Running shoes were set up on a table in the Sacred Space. Patrick Reyes, program manager of Spirituality, Education and Dialogue, noted that they served as a reminder of Boston and Northeastern’s resiliency and that the community continues to bear the pain of April 15. Some of the attendees were given white roses, which they placed on top of the shoes.