Province News

Ignatian Reflections on the Boston Marathon Tragedy

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Mass of Healing and Hope at St. Ignatius Parish near Boston CollegeSince the Boston Marathon bombings that took place on April 15, the Jesuit community has written and shared reflections on the incident, looking at the tragedy through a Christian, Catholic, and Ignatian lens. Read on for a mix of content from Jesuits and area Jesuit institutions.


Praying for the Dead, for Peace and for Our Persecutors
Fr. James Martin, SJ, author and contributing editor to America, the national Catholic magazine, wrote an article for America on praying not just for the easy reasons, but for the most difficult ones, too.

Move From Surreality Back to Reality
Fr. Joseph O’Keefe, SJ, director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Boston College, proclaimed a homily on “Move From Surreality Back to Reality” for the fourth Sunday of Easter at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in Chestnut Hill, Mass.


Dear Dzhokhar, I Can’t Hate You
Michael Rogers, SJ, a New England Province Jesuit studying in Rome in preparation for priestly ordination in June, wrote an open letter to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused Marathon bomber.  Originally published on his Facebook page, the letter went viral receiving more than 30,000 likes and 20,000 shares.  Michael was also interviewed by State of Belief radio about this reflection; watch his interview below.

I Love That Dirty Water
Dennis Baker, SJ, a Jesuit scholastic pursuing theological studies at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, wrote this reflection for The Jesuit Post.  Dennis had just left Fenway Park when the bombs went off.  A week later, he asks whether, in a time of tragedy, there is more to sport than just distraction.

Speaking of Tragedy: The Boston Marathon and Public Discourse
Jayme Stayer, SJ is a Jesuit scholastic pursuing his third-year theological studies at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.  His article for The Jesuit Post is a potent reflection on our collective and individual responses to the marathon bombings.


St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Chestnut Hill, Mass., also responded immediately to the crisis when runners were halted along the marathon route and prevented from finishing.  The parish, staffed by Jesuit priests near the Boston College campus, opened its doors to shelter and comfort stranded runners and others.  Read the story and the reflection by Fr. Robert VerEecke, SJ, pastor of St. Ignatius.

In response to the effects the tragedy had throughout the region, several Jesuit institutions held special Masses and vigils to help their communities cope and heal.

Boston College held a Mass of Hope and Healing the day after the bombings led by university president Fr. William Leahy, SJ, at St. Ignatius Parish. Fr. Leahy urged those in attendance to draw on “a reservoir of care and good will, that will sustain us as a community.”  Read more from the BC Chronicle.

College of the Holy Cross held an interfaith prayer service on the St. Joseph Memorial Chapel Plaza at their Worcester, Mass., campus on April 17.  “The Boston Marathon is a symbol of so many of the values which we at Holy Cross hold dear—dedication, perseverance, charity, community, and excellence,” says Marybeth Kearns-Barrett, director of the Office of the College Chaplains. “By gathering together as a community to reflect and pray at this painful time, we reaffirm our commitment to these values and to our collective vocation to be peacemakers.” Read more.

Fairfield University president Fr. Jeffrey von Arx, SJ, issued a statement to the university community.  The university also held an evening of prayer on April 16 and a Mass of Healing and Hope on April 17 in Egan Chapel at their Fairfield, Conn., campus. Read Fr. von Arx’s message.


Michael Rogers, SJ Interview: State of Belief Radio
Michael Rogers, SJ, was interviewed about his letter to accused Marathon bomber, entitled “Dear Dzhokhar” on State of Belief Radio.

Photo Credit: Lee Pellegrini, Boston College

With you always

Connect with the Jesuits

Jesuits East on FacebookJesuits New England on TwitterYouTubeNew England Province of Jesuits on LinkedInJesuits New England on Google+Subscribe by RSS to Jesuits New England News