In commemoration of 9/11, Duquesne University faculty, staff and students are preparing to observe 11 Days of Peace, an initiative that will include Masses, interfaith prayers, a poetry reading and other activities centered on themes of unity, justice, forgiveness and peace.
Presented by Duquesne’s Spiritan Campus Ministry, in collaboration with the Gumberg Library and the English department, 11 Days of Peace begins Sunday, Sept. 11, and continues through Wednesday, Sept. 21, which is the United Nations-designated International Day of Peace. The public is invited to participate as well.
“We invite and encourage everyone to find an activity that speaks to them and participate,” says Linda Donovan, campus minister. “These days are about more than just remembering the anniversary of 9/11. They are about getting involved, learning something new and taking action.”
Two 10th Anniversary Masses of Remembrance will mark the beginning of 11 Days of Peace on Sunday, Sept. 11, at 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. in the University chapel. A candle will be lit in the chapel and burn for 11 days, and interfaith prayer cards will be distributed. Following the 9 p.m. Mass, candles will be taken to the Spiritan Campus Ministry Center, residence halls, Gumberg Library and other locations on campus.
Displays about peaceful conflict resolution will be exhibited in the Gumberg Library, and campus community members can sign peace pledges located in the Commuter Center of the Union and the Spiritan Campus Ministry Center.
A screening of the documentary Tony, a compelling film about child soldiers in Uganda made by the nonprofit group Invisible Children, will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. in the Power Center Ballroom. A question-and-answer session will be held after the film.
Students will have the opportunity to submit and read original works of poetry at Peace Poetry Slam, a group poetry reading which will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. in the library on Tuesday, Sept. 20. Students may also sign peace pledges at the library beginning at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
“This is the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and obviously there is significance in that, so the expression of feelings and emotions naturally lend themselves to these formats,” says Melodie Frankovitch, public relations librarian, who helped organize the poetry event.
The Duquesne University campus will observe one minute of silence for peace at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 21, in recognition of the International Day of Peace.
Students and others may attend a 24-hour peace vigil from midnight on Tuesday, Sept. 20, through midnight Wednesday, Sept. 21, at St. Benedict the Moor parish in the Hill District. Located at Centre Avenue and Crawford Street, the church will remain open for 24 hours. In addition, there will be a flag ceremony and interfaith prayer service at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Freedom Corner in the Hill District.
Donovan said 11 Days of Peace was organized to bring the University community and public together for 11 days of awareness, action and prayer.
“We wanted to provide a means for everyone to come together to focus on issues of peace, justice and resolving conflict … the activities that we have scheduled allow for many different forms of expression,” Donovan said.
Frankovitch added, “I think it’s very significant that we, here at Duquesne, along with people all over the world on the same day (September 21) will be making advances toward peace.”