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A COVID Memorial: Marking a Year of Loss

Angel statue with surgical mask in hand

A year of pandemic has come with more losses than we can express fully—loss of celebrations, hugs, jobs and almost 2.8 million deaths worldwide as of March 2021. The US alone has recorded more than 550,000 deaths. As we mourn together, we invite you to pray, remember loved ones and share your story.

Opening Vigil for Memorial Space

Friday, April 9 | 1 PM
In Person:
Austin Field (in front of the cemetery)
Campus Ministry's Instagram page

Join us as we open a temporary memorial space to help us name and hold our losses during the pandemic. You will have the opportunity to write the names of deceased loved ones on ribbons hung as part of a public display.

Watch the opening ceremony:

Closing Ceremony

Friday, April 23 | 1 PM
Feast of the Conversion of St. Augustine
In Person:
Austin Field (in front of the cemetery)
Livestream: Campus Ministry's Instagram page

Please join us as we read the names of those who have died (see below), take down the ribbons and bless them. Note. We will re-hang the ribbons and maintain the display through Commencement.

Everyone must comply with the Caritas Commitment, including masking and distancing during the event. 

Submitting Names for Online Memorial

Please use this form to submit the names of loved ones who died from COVID. This data will be part of an online memorial after the outdoor space closes. The form also gives you the option of requesting that we create a ribbon for you.

Prayer in a Time of Pandemic

In one of his sermons, St. Augustine reminds us that “of necessity we must be sorrowful when those whom we love leave us in death. Although we know that they have not left us behind forever, but have only gone ahead of us, still, when death seizes our loved ones, our loving hearts are saddened by death itself. Thus the Apostle Paul does not tell us not to grieve but not to grieve like those who are without hope.”

It is in this invitation to hope that we pray.

Loving God,

We stand before you, marked by shared grief and loss caused by the pandemic.

Hold those who have lost their lives during this time in your Eternal Embrace of peace and mercy.

Hear our cries during this crisis, most especially of those most vulnerable, those who are alone, in isolation and afraid, separated from loved ones: cries for wholeness, cries for relationship, cries for strength, cries for healing.

Give us the wisdom to be with one another and to trust each other, and inspire us to continue to make decisions rooted in our common good.

Above all, help us to move in hope, knowing that your Healing Presence accompanies us and leads us into newness of life.

We make this prayer in Jesus’ name.


Falvey Library Documenting COVID-19

Falvey Library,with the Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest, has created the “Documenting COVID-19” collection effort. The project allows members of the Villanova community to contribute their story (in any medium) to create an archival collection of the experience of the pandemic. 

Augustine on Grief

yellow leaf lies on brick pavers

"It is unavoidable that we should be sad when those we love leave us in death. 

Although we know that they are not leaving us forever, that they have but gone a little ahead of us, that we who remain will follow them, our nature still recoils from their death. 

Even though our hope in the divine promises brings some sort of healing, because we are human we still mourn their loss."

Sermon 1721

Contact Us

John Edwards, PhD, Director, Center for Pastoral Ministry Education

James Henderson, Campus Ministry Intern

Jared May, Technical Coordinator

Bobby Nichols, Campus Ministry Intern

Irene Rivera, Campus Minister for Hispanic/Latino Ministry and Outreach

Rev. Julia Sheetz, PhD, Campus Minister for Ecumenical and Interfaith Outreach

Michelle Sherman, Campus Minister for Retreats