Duquesne to Hold Interfaith Service on Tuesday for Victims of Shooting

The following message was sent to members of the Duquesne community on October 28:

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

As Pittsburgh, the nation and the world continue to reel from the horrific shooting incident at Tree of Life Synagogue in the city's Squirrel Hill neighborhood, the Duquesne University community continues to offer its condolences and prayers of support to the victims, their families and the entire community.

This tragedy hits particularly close to home as we have learned that one of the victims, Cecil Rosenthal, was a community buddy in the University's Best Buddies chapter. He was a frequent participant in campus programming, athletic events, and Best Buddies events. Sadly, Cecil and his brother, David, both died in the shooting. The University is devastated to have lost such a beloved member of the campus community and our hearts go out to the Rosenthal family and to all others who have lost loved ones as they deal with these unimaginable losses.

Now that the city and federal officials have released details concerning yesterday's tragic events, I wanted to give you an update concerning Duquesne's responses. First, given the fact that the site of the shooting was a considerable distance from campus and the perpetrator was apprehended within minutes of the shooting, our Public Safety officials made the determination that there was no security threat to campus.

Second, as soon as the situation was stabilized we took the following steps. I sent a campus email yesterday expressing the University's condolences to the victims, families and the faith community of the Tree of Life Congregation. As well, the University actively engaged in reaching out to students, faculty and staff who might be most directly impacted. Specifically, we reached out to members of Chabad at Duquesne, the student-run organization whose mission is to support Jewish-oriented events, opportunities and enrichment for all Duquesne students.

Counseling services are being offered, through Duquesne's Counseling and Wellbeing Center at 636 Fisher Hall (412-396-6204). Efforts are underway by our Student Life and Campus Ministry staff (412-396-6020) to reach out to all students who may be struggling with this tragedy. Representatives of our senior leadership team also attended the vigil in Squirrel Hill last evening and will attend the interfaith gathering being held by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh this afternoon at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland.

On Tuesday evening, we are holding an interfaith service for the entire Duquesne University community. It will take place in the Student Union Ballroom at 7 p.m. This service will focus on remembrance, unity and healing. All members of the Duquesne community are welcome to attend, as are members of the broader community. We will make specific outreach to the Jewish community in Squirrel Hill, with whom we have been partners on many interfaith initiatives over the years.

Prayers for the victims, first responders and the community are being offered at all Masses on campus. Moreover, Duquesne Public Safety officers will have a presence at today's Masses to provide a reassuring sense of safety to anyone feeling uneasy about engaging in worship.

As we struggle to come to terms with how and why such a tragedy occurred in our city, we continue to offer our prayers and support for all those affected as we pray for peace in our community.


President Ken Gormley
Duquesne University

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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