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Amid scandal in the Catholic Church, CaSA holds candlelight vigil for survivors

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Amid scandal in the Catholic Church, CaSA holds candlelight vigil for survivors

 A candlelight vigil at the Rock. CaSA held the vigil Thursday to show support for survivors of sexual abuse.

A candlelight vigil at the Rock. CaSA held the vigil Thursday to show support for survivors of sexual abuse.

Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

A candlelight vigil at the Rock. CaSA held the vigil Thursday to show support for survivors of sexual abuse.

Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

A candlelight vigil at the Rock. CaSA held the vigil Thursday to show support for survivors of sexual abuse.

Cameron Cook, Assistant Campus Editor

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The Northwestern Catholic Students Association held a candlelight vigil for survivors of sexual abuse at The Rock on Thursday night.

The event, planned by the CaSA board, began at Sheil Catholic Center; the attendees walked south on Sheridan road, then stopped at the Rock to sing, pray and light candles to show support for survivors of sexual abuse.

In the wake of the sex abuse scandal that broke over the summer, Catholics are being forced to grapple with their relationship to the church, said Mary Deeley, a pastoral associate at Sheil.

“We are in the middle of a second round of this crisis,” Deeley said. “This hits harder than the one in 2002. I think part of the reason for that is the hierarchy is more involved. Bishops themselves were perpetrators. It’s very hard.”

This internal struggle, coupled with the need to speak out against the longtime silence normalized by the church hierarchy, was the driving force behind organizing the event, Deeley said.

Weinberg sophomore Faith LaVoie, the CaSA service senator, was one of the main architects of the vigil.

“There’s a lot going on in the world,” the Weinberg sophomore said. “Our church has been under fire for terrible, unexcusable conduct. We wanted to have a space where we can say (to survivors) ‘we’re here, we see you, we support you, we love you.’”

Weinberg junior Denise Lopez, the CaSA treasurer, said the vigil was planned in only a week and a half. The students selected appropriate hymns, contacted people from the Evanston community and wrote a prayer that they thought fit the occasion.

Though LaVoie and Lopez started thinking about the possibility of such an event over the summer, it didn’t come to fruition until now.

“It was a bit of a whirlwind putting everything together,” Lopez said. “But it’s very important to us, and we wanted to make sure we did it well and with good attendance.”

Despite the rush, turnout was good, and a few people walking around campus, some of whom were not regulars at Sheil, joined the group midway through.

“It’s so important that we band together and stand up for those most vulnerable in our community,” LaVoie said. “It’s really dark in the world right now, and we’re trying to literally spread some light.”

CaSA will be holding a forum in Norris to further discuss the state of the Catholic Church on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 8:15 p.m.

Email: cameroncook2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @cam_e_cook

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