AUC holds on-campus memorial service for Pope Shenouda III
About 150 students stood for a moment of silence for Pope Shenouda III at a memorial service held yesterday at Bartlett Plaza organized by the Student Union (SU) during assembly hour.
After the first hymn was sung, SU President Ahmed Alaa called for everyone to stand for a moment of silence in mourning of the Pope.
Fady Adel, president of the Prophet Daniel Assembly, spoke about how the Pope was a symbol of love.
"[The Pope] told us that we're not being persecuted," Adel said.
Adel said that the Pope taught his followers how to love each other, especially between Christians and Muslims.
"I miss him [the Pope]. I'm very upset but at the same time I'm happy because he reached the place that he was praying to reach his whole life," Adel said.
Ragy Tawadros, a junior political science student, was also very moved by the memorial service.
"We were brought up with him; we've only seen him [as our Pope]," Tawadros said.
He said he hopes that the care and love he feels today in university will be found in all of Egypt too.
"Many Muslims came and offered their condolences to me," Tawadros said.
Tawadros said that the Pope represented Christians. He also said that Christians were already worried about the upcoming president, but now they are even more apprehensive since the new Pope comes at a time of uncertainty.
Fady Ibrahim, a freshman construction-engineering student, said that the Pope is a symbol of God, but power is always from God.
"God will never leave us regardless of the Pope's death. The Pope didn't die; he just went to his final resting place," Ibrahim said.
John Hanna, a senior finance student, disagreed with certain stances the Church took, but said he could not place blame on the Pope due to the dictatorship Egypt was under.
Hanna said he expected a greater reaction from the Pope after the Maspero massacre in November during which many Copts were killed. Many have criticized the Pope's weak stance on this event.
"The Church should have reacted differently to the Maspero massacre to ensure the rights of those that died," Hanna said.
He adds, "I no longer want to argue against the Pope now that he's dead. He was a leader and we must respect him."
The memorial service was called for through a portal email sent out approximately 15 minutes before assembly hour, but managed to fill up most of the seats with rows of people standing as well.