University of San Diego

Office of the President

Dear Campus Community:

Along with people around the globe, our celebration of Easter was darkened by the news of the terrorist attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. Our hearts break at the immensity of the devastation and ache for all those suffering. The loss of so many lives, and the vast number injured, is breathtaking. The images and stories are shattering. Our Office of International Programs has confirmed that we currently do not have any students, faculty or staff in Sri Lanka. 

As I wrote after the recent attacks on the mosques in New Zealand, acts of terror and hate are antithetical to the values we hold most dear as a Catholic university, especially our conviction in the dignity of each and every person. The targeting of believers gathered for prayer is particularly painful, whether it be a church, mosque, synagogue or any house of worship. 

While the intentional location and timing of these attacks for Easter Sunday morning is profoundly disturbing, perhaps the message of Easter can provide the hope we need at this difficult moment – for Easter tells us that death is never the last word, love is greater than hate, and what we thought could never be, can be. Moreover, in their celebration of Passover this past week, our Jewish brothers and sisters recommitted themselves to belief in a God who desires to lead people out of all forms of oppression to freedom.

Let us open our hearts to these truths so that they might shape our lives. While we may have limited ability to affect the situation in Sri Lanka or New Zealand, we have unlimited potential to impact the lives of people around us and to shape our campus and our communities into the places of love, healing, and respect for which we long.

All those impacted by the tragedy in Sri Lanka will be remembered at our daily 12:15 p.m. Masses in Founders Chapel throughout this week, as well as at the Wednesday evening Mass for Peace at 9:00 p.m. In addition, a candlelight vigil will be held on Wednesday evening at 8:15 p.m. on Paseo de Colachis in front of Founders Hall. At each of these gatherings, we will remember those killed and injured, and we will pray for an end to such acts of hatred as well as for the resolve to be people of solidarity. 


James T. Harris III, D.Ed. 

University of San Diego

Office of the President
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492