Dear Seton Hall Family,
Last Friday at about 9:30 p.m., I was driving to campus from downtown Newark by way of South Orange Avenue. As I approached South Clinton Street, I spied a mobile police unit parked nearby. It was quite large. I thought: “Surely, this is overdoing it.” In less than three hours I would be proven wrong by the violence done in that very neighborhood to innocent members of the Seton Hall family and their friends. I was jolted out of my rash optimism.
But I was given no opportunity to give into pessimism; for promptly I witnessed other members of the community spring into action to be at the side of the shocked, the wounded, and the dying — our dearest Jessica. Indeed, many from campus went to UMDNJ, and the students and staff who remained on campus reached out to those who had been at the ill-fated party or who were emotionally close to someone who had been there. The rest of the experience until the prayer service that evening, and beyond, has not returned me to my unexamined optimism, but has landed me squarely on the solid ground of realism.
There is much goodness in the world. And there is also much evil. But goodness predominates. If this were not so, we would not be appalled by evil. But we are! Hence, goodness is normative. Still, because evil is always at our heels, we must be attentive. We must look out for others, lest they fall into the trap of doing evil; and we must watch over our own minds and hearts, lest we ourselves succumb to evil. Each day we must give ourselves over to doing good and supporting each other in virtue.
While Jessica’s life was precious in itself, it will have an added value for us all if we learn to guard against evil in ourselves and devote ourselves to doing good in the conviction that goodness ultimately triumphs over evil. This is the realist’s conviction, and its basis is this: God did not spare the good and innocent Jesus death at the hands of evil persons, but he raised him from the dead. We can hope securely, therefore, that God will do same for Jessica and all of us who walk in faith and obedience to the all-good God.
Always, but especially in these difficult days, may we who are part of the Seton Hall family love one another and our neighbors, as is good and right and pleasing to God.
Msgr. C. Anthony Ziccardi
Vice President for Mission & Ministry