Recognizing Losses at College Graduation

Graduations take place in the spring, and for students and their families who have recently lost a parent, sibling or grandparent, these ceremonies can be bitter sweet. At Yale University, the chaplains’ office has devised a commencement-weekend opportunity to recognize such losses. “Service of Remembrance,” which is part of the graduation schedule, provides a quiet space for families to stop, reflect and be sad together in the midst of a celebratory, noisy weekend.

The service, said Reverend Cynthia Terry, associate chaplain at Yale, draws on different religious traditions and secular sources. At last years’ service, a Jewish student recited the Kaddish; other prayers included selections from the Qur’an, a Buddhist chant, a chapter of Ecclesiastes, a Hindu prayer, and a passage from the New Testament. There is also time set aside for people to name the names of their loved ones who have died, and to light candles for them. Particularly this year with its many losses, are remembrance service like this may serve as a necessary and poignant addition to other celebrations as well.
For more information, contact Reverend Terry at 203-432-1128;