Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Students Gather to Give Early Thanks


Students from a variety of religious backgrounds gathered for the Student Interfaith Council and the Office of Campus Ministry’s annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Prayer Service in McShain Lounge Tuesday night.

Jordan Denari (SFS ’13), president of the council, and Lisa Pannucci, interreligious coordinator, organized the event, which aimed to recognize the diversity of beliefs on campus.

“I hope [students are] able to think a little bit deeper, not only about their own spirituality and where they stand in their faith journies, but about the other [beliefs] that they see every day,” Pannucci said.

Denari challenged the audience to focus on and give thanks for the positive influences in their lives.

“Gratitude helps us to achieve better perspective about what’s important in our lives, and I charge all of you to give yourselves these moments of reflection during these busy days at Georgetown,” she said.

Denari also emphasized the importance of an interfaith community.

“Though we may go about the practice of our faith in different ways, we all are searching, and that is one commonality that we will always share,” she said.

Participating groups included the Catholic Student Association, the Latter-Day Saints Student Association, Buddhist Meditation Sangha, Muslim Student Association, the Protestant Student Forum, the Hindu Student Association, Jewish Student Association and the Orthodox Christian Fellowship. Prayers included readings of a Buddhist meditation, selections from the Book of Mormon and Hindu prayers.

Students emphasized the need for peace during this time of Thanksgiving and the importance of expressing one’s faith.

“Thanksgiving to God is not a passive thing; it’s something we take and live with,” Ivan Plis (SFS ’12), a member of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, said.

The service also included the perspective of an agnostic, Jesse Milzman (COL ’15). He admitted that in past years he was unsure of how to celebrate Thanksgiving. He now focuses, however, on the relationships he has formed as a source of gratitude.

“I realize I am thankful every day, not to God, but to those in my life who are meaningful,” he said. “The love of friends is something that all people experience regardless of their faith.”

Interfaith Council Outreach Chair Aamir Hussain (COL ’14) concluded the service by explaining the significance of the bag of cracked corn that was placed on every attendee’s chair, a tradition that symbolizes hardships suffered by the Pilgrims during their first winter. Hussain entreated the audience to give thanks for everything, both big and small.

“As you gather around your Thanksgiving table to give thanks, place five kernels of corn at each place as a reminder of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go until all our brothers and sisters can take their rightful place at the table,” he said.

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