Manchester vigil: together in solidarity

Vigil in Albert Square Manchester
Vigil in Albert Square Manchester

A number of students from the Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy attended the vigil for the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing in Albert Square on Tuesday evening.

Fr Michael Holman SJ reports “I was in a group that went along with Neil Jameson and Furqan Naeem from the Greater Manchester Citizens group based at the chaplaincy. We carried Citizens banners which attracted some attention from the media, hence the photograph  below taken by a reporter from the Independent. Also in the group was the Muslim chaplain to the University.

The vigil, which lasted around 25 minutes, was a witness to the people of Manchester's determination to stand together in solidarity at this most difficult time. Those who spoke echoed in their different ways the words of the Bishop of Manchester that "Love is always stronger than hate".

Marc Levy (Jewish Leadership Council), Fr Michael Holman SJ and Furqan Naeem (Community Organiser for Greater Manchester Citizens)There was a minute's silence to remember those who had died and their grieving loved ones. One contribution which captured the imagination of everyone there was from Tony Walsh who read his poem about the city, "this is the place". It was an inspiration and a source of uplift to all as we left the square as was the sight of a group of Sikhs generously handing out free bottles of water and Coca Cola to anyone who wanted. A very sad and very moving event.”

Fr William Pearsall SJ remained behind last evening to say mass at Holy Name. “It has been strangely quiet on Oxford Road,” he observed “many of the busses are on diversion so there is less traffic. Students are busy with exams, older people are staying at home, perhaps out of fear. It’s very subdued.”  

The Holy Name Church was open all day yesterday and many candles were lit in a special place at the altar.