The Boston marathon bombing was an atrocity that touched the world. It was, however, felt all the more in Belvedere College Dublin because exchange students from Boston High School were staying with families of boys in the school as the tragic events unfolded. Both sets of students were shaken by the news from Boston.
Teachers Leslie LaRocca, John Mark and Pat McAllister accompanied the students from Boston High School who were experiencing a flavour of Jesuit schooling in Dublin as well as visiting various places of interest around Ireland like Ireland’s Eye island and Newgrange (see photo).
When news of the bombings broke the students got in touch with their families immediately and met as a group on the Tuesday morning to talk and pray together. They also took part in a special ceremony of prayer and reflection organised by Belvedere College where they were reminded of the ‘connectedness’ between human beings, articulated so well by Martin Luther King in a letter from Brimingham jail in 1961 when he wrote:
“I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly”
All the students gathered were reminded that working for justice was a particular focus of Jesuit schools worldwide and whether the bombs exploded in “Iraq or Afghanisitan or the US, human suffering as a consequence of evil actions challenges us to respond and work tirelessly to address the source of injustice”
Pat McAllister, Boston High School teacher said the ceremony was ”powerful” adding that all the boys on the trip were well and healthy but clearly shaken by what had happened. He said huge thanks was due “to the host families, Gerry Foley, headmaster of Belvedere, Tom Doyle, Phil Hogan and Eoghan Keogh”, for their thoughts and prayers and “the incredible care they gave to all.”