The resident community of The Lay Centre held a prayer vigil on 14 November for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris, which occurred just the day before, as well as for the victims of the recent attacks in Beirut and Ankara.
The vigil was led by Lay Centre scholar Lailatul Fitriyah from Indonesia. It was organized together with Scott Alexander, a visiting professor from Catholic Theological Union in the United States, and Selva Yildirim, a scholar from Germany.
At nightfall, with lit candles, we gathered in the garden that surrounds The Lay Centre.
Various members of the community observed a moment of silence, remembering the victims of this violence and their families. Then some members shared a reading, a song or a prayer from their respective religions.
What began as a small Lay Centre community effort of solidarity, widened to embrace a larger circle, as some religious sisters, who were on the grounds for another meeting, spontaneously joined us in this moment.
Fourteen countries are represented in this year’s 19-member student community, including Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Mozambique, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The interreligious and ecumenical student community includes Muslims and Christians (including Catholics, Orthodox, an Anglican and a Presbyterian) and a Unitarian. Next semester, the community will expand to include also Jewish and Buddhist scholars.
The residents are graduate students mostly, studying in various fields, including theology, church history, interreligious and ecumenical studies, social science, canon law and missiology.
Among them, four are Russell Berrie Fellows in Interreligious Dialogue at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum). One student is a seminarian for the Anglican Church.
The residents live in community and engage in a “dialogue of everyday life,” growing in friendship, knowledge and respect for each other’s faith.
Photos by Hansol Goo and Scott Alexander