The Catholic University of America

TO: The Faculties, Staffs and Students of The Catholic University of America
FROM: Father O'Connell, President
DATE: April 16, 2007

Dear friends,

The unspeakable horror of the events that took place on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University earlier today is a sobering reminder to all of us of the unpredictability and fragility of life in our world. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this senseless violence and to all our sisters and brothers on the Virginia Tech campus. We lift up their beloved dead in prayer and we offer their souls to a loving God who has called them home.

It does not seem fair or right in this Easter season, in this springtime --- when new life is all around us, when we are preparing for commencement and the celebrations connected with the end of another school year --- that such a tragedy would bring so much sadness to otherwise joyful hearts. There are many questions that remain unanswered at this moment in Blacksburg, Virginia, as police and members of the Virginia Tech University community sift through the pieces of this tragedy.

At 5 pm today, I invite the university community to the Caldwell Hall Chapel to join in prayer for our sisters and brothers --- students, colleagues, families, alumni --- at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and University. Other tributes and remembrances will be made available in the Pryzbyla University Center and later sent to the Virginia campus community. I have written to the President there, Dr. Charles Steger, to express CUA's prayers and support.

Several of our students, faculty and staff have family members or friends studying or working at Virginia Tech. Despite the magnitude of this tragedy, it is important for all of us to remain calm and always vigilant on our own campus. No one should ever hesitate contacting the Department of Public Safety to report any concerns whatsoever.

This is a very sad day for all of us in higher education. Let us pray that these events will never be repeated.

Thank you all for your concern and care for the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and University and your care and support of one another at times like these.

Father O'Connell