Faith rituals help students in crisis, priest tells campus ministers

ATLANTA (CNS) — As the second anniversary of the largest mass killing on a U.S. campus approaches, the Catholic priest serving at Virginia Tech University said the church can help fearful and confused students through its mindfulness of community rituals. The church view of the “intimacy of God with the world” is a strong perspective during times of crisis, Father John Grace said. “It is probably the strongest card we have.” More than 30 members of the National Association of Diocesan Directors of Campus Ministry, meeting in Atlanta Jan. 5-6, discussed how to support a faith community when students at a university are reeling from a crisis. Father Grace, a priest of the Diocese of Richmond, Va., and graduate student Jeff Yacup talked about the Virginia Tech shootings that took the lives of 32 students and faculty members on April 16, 2007; the shooter, a student, then took his own life.

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