The Catholic University of America

CUA Remembers: A Vigil of Hope
Remarks by The Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., President
at The Catholic University of America
Sept. 18, 2001

"Good evening. As President of our university community, I wish to express a word of welcome and gratitude to all of you for your presence here on the great lawn as we stand together in vigil.

I did not believe that it was humanly possible to shed another tear after all the tears of this past week. In looking over this immense crowd, so many of our students, my eyes and heart fill up again. I guess our tears are part of what make us human. Tears of sadness, tears of remembrance, tears of hope - all of which water the common ground of our community so deeply affected by this tragedy.

We gather tonight, the members of The Catholic University of America community, one week to the day when tragedy struck our nation. Throughout the week, we have gathered in the basilica, in our own chapels, on the capitol steps and mall, in hospital corridors waiting to give blood as so many of us have, in groups small and large to remember and to pray for the victims of this horror, for their families and friends, for those selfless fellow citizens who have worked to rescue and to recover, for all whose lives have been changed. For those who have witnessed and for those who still wait.

There is not a person here or throughout this great land of ours, or the world for that matter, who has not been deeply affected by this tragedy. Whether we knew a victim or a family member or a rescuer or not, our hearts - broken yet still beating - move us to remember and to pray and to hope.

We lost a member of our University community, a new member, Karen A. Kincaid, who began her first semester teaching in our school of law only a few weeks ago. Born in Iowa and a graduate of the Drake University Law School, Professor Kincaid specialized in communications law and was a partner in Wiley, Rein and Fielding. She leaves behind a husband and several siblings. We remember Karen and all of her loved ones in a very special way tonight.

The motto of Catholic University is, as I have reminded you so often over these past few years, "God is my light." He is, indeed, the light that pierces the darkness with hope. And, so, we lift the God's light high in these dark days not only as a sign that CUA remembers but also that no power on earth, no grief, no fear, no person can ever extinguish our hope. That we return to our lives with an even greater resolve to live each moment in God's light and love is our tribute, our promise, our commitment to those who live now with God in his eternal light. Let us pray."