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Under the Ground We are All One: A Vigil of Mourning & Lament

Springfield Dominicans Plan ’Round-the-Clock Outdoor Vigil To Mourn the Loss of Life in Iraq

Springfield, Ill. – Increasing, dire reports about the loss of life in Iraq have compelled the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Ill., to express their grief with a ‘round-the-clock’ vigil to honor the dead.

"Under the Ground We are All One: A Vigil of Mourning & Lament” is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. on Tuesday October 31, at Sacred Heart Convent, 1237 W. Monroe St. The opening funeral procession and wake service will be followed by a 45-hour vigil – outdoors, rain or shine – until the conclusion of a tree-planting ceremony scheduled for 1 p.m. on Thursday, November 2.

The public is invited and volunteers are needed to keep watch with the sisters. More information about the event and an on-line volunteer registration form are available at www.SpringfieldOP.org.

Visitors are advised to avoid traveling to the site during the times of school drop-off and dismissal, 7:45-8:15 a.m. and 2:30-3:30 p.m.

In Catholic liturgical tradition, October 31-November 2 are days for praying with and for the dead: All Hallows Eve, more commonly known as Halloween; the Feast of all Saints, and the Feast of all Souls.

“It is the perfect time to call to mind the hundreds of thousands of God’s people – military personnel and Iraqi citizens – who have lost their lives in this tragic war,” said Sister Rose Marie Riley, OP, the congregation’s prioress general. “Under the ground – and above it – we ARE all one. So we pray for their souls’ rest, for their loved ones, and for all people caught in this terrible web of violence.”

Nearly 3,000 U.S. and coalition soldiers have died since the start of the invasion on March 19, 2003. A recent report in the British medical journal The Lancet estimates that more than 600,000 Iraqis have died of war-related causes since that date.

“Before the start of the invasion in 2003 Dominicans around the world began wearing ‘We Have Family in Iraq’ buttons as a sign of solidarity with the Iraqi Dominican sisters, friars, and laity,” noted Sister Marcelline Koch, a member of the Dominican leadership team. “Once the U.S. troops were there, people who saw our buttons sometimes said ‘I have family in Iraq, too’ meaning that their son, or niece, or spouse, or grandchild was in the military. It is this common human face, the common human loss, the common human grief that we feel and want to express.”

Under the Ground We Are All One: A Vigil of Mourning & Lament.

How you can help.

Leave a message of solidarity on their website.

Download a poster and display it.

Take a shift of the watch.
Call Sister Karla or sign up on the website

Display a poster of the event at your ministry site.
Even if you are not in Springfield, the poster can be a way of expressing your solidarity and telling others about what is happening. You can download and print a poster here or contact the Springfield OPs and they'll mail one to you.

Pray in place.
Where ever you are, you can be in solidarity with the vigil by keeping your own watch in your own way. If you want to tell us about it, there is a place at our website where you can leave a message of solidarity. We will print these messages for our visitors to read and will send them to Iraq.


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