FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Campus Crusade for Christ held a prayer vigil last night at the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus for those killed at Virginia Tech. It was held inside and outside the geophysics building. During the vigil, students broke into groups and prayed together. Clockwise from the right, Kezia Tunnell, Christel Reichert, Amy Logan, Samuel Yiluy and Loretta Simpson prayed together. CLICK FOR LARGE
Islanders offer prayers and hope for victims
Virginia Tech alumni attend a Requiem Mass for the victims; UH students hold vigil
A young Virginia Tech graduate wept quietly yesterday throughout a Honolulu memorial service for the victims of the Monday violence at her alma mater.
Another alumnus, Rick Keene, said attending the Requiem Mass at St. Andrew's Cathedral in downtown Honolulu "helps me make a connection back to the campus after seeing things unfold this week." Keene, chief financial officer with Queen's Health Systems, held a Virginia Tech logo cap that, he said, he usually wears to football games.
About 70 people attended the noontime Mass for the dead in Parke Chapel, double the usual crowd for the weekly Eucharistic service. They prayed aloud "that the dark shadows of malice and evil shall never overcome the redeeming light of faith and hope" and "that we may honor the dreams and visions of those whose lives were cut short."
At the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus, Juliana Barnes, a 22-year-old senior from Spotsylvania, Va. -- located an hour from Virginia Tech -- joined in a prayer vigil sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ.
Barnes awoke Monday morning to a text message from a friend in Virginia, who named a couple of friends and said they were OK. "I had no clue what was going on," she said, but got on her computer and quickly learned the devastating news.
"My heart just dropped," she said. "I have a lot of friends that go to that school."
She said the mood there is somber and that the whole state is in mourning.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
A young woman cried yesterday at a Requiem Mass at St. Andrew's Cathedral held for the Virginia Tech students killed in Monday's shooting. CLICK FOR LARGE
"I think more than anything, I wish I could be home," she said, and regrets "not being able to physically be there for my community."
At Parke Chapel, the Rev. Gregory Johnson told the crowd, "What happened in Blacksburg, Va., is not part of God's plan ... for God is not sadistic or vindictive. He doesn't rub our noses in grief to prove how weak we are or how omnipotent he is."
"Would that all the guns in all the hands of all those with malicious intent would be buried in the graveyard of history before a trigger could be pulled and a life taken," said Johnson, paraphrasing "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," a song by Bob Dylan.
The priest, also a Hawaii Pacific University professor, played a soundtrack of contemporary songs by Guns and Roses, Madonna, Celine Dion, R.E.M., Jimmy Eat World, 2Pac and Phil Collins, the Byrds and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole before and after the service. In a postscript in the program, he asked the usual Wednesday Mass crowd of mostly senior citizens to "suffer quietly," saying the music "is actually rather mild, given the diverse musical tastes of the students for whom this service is offered."
Even people not connected with church or religion recognize "when it is dark out, we all seek the light," Johnson said afterward. "This has been a dark moment for the campus. By coming together at a time like this, people can connect with the light of love and understanding ... and compassion for those who lost loved ones."
The music struck chords with a tearful female graduate who said she did not know any of the victims, but "the campus is like my family." She declined to be identified.
Amanda Jenkins of Richmond, Va., said she came because "I need the help trying to deal with it." Not a Virginia Tech graduate, she said she had some anxiety Monday until a good friend who is a freshman there got in touch through a text message.
Chris Omuro brought her children, Taylor, 9, and Trenton, 11, to the service. She said it is "part of their schooling" to be aware of the news and to pray for people.
What happened on the Virginia campus "is sad," Trenton said. "I'm still going to college."
Star-Bulletin reporter Leila Fujimori contributed to this report.