WATERVILLE — They stood in a circle on the Colby College campus Wednesday to remember those who died in the Boston Marathon bombings.

They recalled the victims’ families, the police and others who ran to, and not away from, the injured; they also praised emergency responders, hospital workers and others who helped the injured.

Standing before the towering Miller Library, the 21 Colby students and staff members from various religious faiths said the bombings hit close to home on a campus where many hail from Boston or its suburbs.

Cassie Raker, 22, of Amherst, Mass., in the western part of the state, said two of her best friends from childhood attend college in Boston and she immediately feared for their safety when she heard of the bombings.

“It was just very close to home,” she said. “You never really think of it happening where you’re from. It was really scary because the campus is very connected to Boston.”

Raker and others came to Wednesday’s gathering under overcast skies to share their grief and express hope for a better future.

Raker’s roommate, Kelsey Conroy, 21, of Falmouth, read Psalm 27 aloud: “… For God will hide me in his shelter in time of trouble. He will conceal me in the cover of his tent and set me high upon a rock.”
Conroy, co-leader of the Newman Council, a student-run Catholic organization on campus, spoke of the restoration of hope, peace and unity.

“We ask for the perpetrator’s conversion of heart and the elimination of all injustice in the world,” she said. “We pray for peace, always and everywhere.”

Saleh Alhanini, a member of the Muslim Club on campus and a teacher of Arabic, read verses from the Koran to honor the victims and their families.

Sophomores Sarah Rockford and Solon Arguello, presidents of the campus Jewish group, Hillel, said the tragic events at the marathon, and later at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where one of its police officers was killed, marred what should have been a celebration of human resilience and endurance.

It is important, they said, to look beyond what happened there to victims who do not get the same amount of press.

Rockford asked that people expand their consciousness of suffering to a broader and more global consideration.

“We must expand our sympathies to encompass the victims of our apathy and the victims in whose suffering we are complicit,” she said. “By holding all human suffering as equal, we find a moral foundation on which we can start to repair the world.”

Senior Amanda Lavigueur, representing the campus meditation group, read aloud a poem about kindness; English professor Peter Harris read twin verses from Buddha.

The gathering was organized by Kurt Nelson, Colby’s dean of religious and spiritual life, who said people should remember that they are stronger together than they would be separately.

“Thanks to those who have gathered to be here together,” he said.

He led the group in a few moments of silence.

As the group dispersed, Conroy said it was important to have people of different faiths come together to lean on each other and acknowledge their grief and fear. Only then will they be able to move forward, she said.

“I think it helped us have some sense of closure,” she said.

Harris, who is in his 39th year at Colby, said it was important that different perspectives were offered from religious groups, all of which do not want to continue the hatred and conflict.

“Love, acceptance, compassion are at the heart of all these religions and all faiths,” he said. “It’s what we want for ourselves and everyone else.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247
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