St. Thomas Aquinas Church stages peace vigil for Syria

Ria Keinert of Ames stands on the corner of Lincoln Way and Lynn Avenue during a vigil for peace in Syria. This vigil was held at St. Thomas Aquinus church across from the Memorial Union on September 9. At the end of the vigil, the group concluded by saying prayers for Syria.

Charles O'Brien

Signs voicing opposition of force in Syria covered the front stairs of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church on Monday night. 

Many of the 24 attendees at the vigil for peace in the Syrian conflict held signs that contained messages like “No Strike on Syria” and “Who Would Jesus Bomb.”

“This is a vigil, not a protest,” said vigil organizer Audrey Stromberg. “Our signs are very peaceful. We are not condemning anyone.”

Stromberg and her fellow vigil participants were looking to drum up awareness from members of the Ames and ISU community and wanting them to notify their U.S. senator or representative to say no to force in Syria.

“We want people to say no; 76 percent of the American people are against this force, and we want to raise that number,” Stromberg said. “I don’t see why [President Barack Obama] would want this war when so many don’t.”

Another vigil organizer, Linda White, sees the vigil as a way to bring awareness to the conflict in Syria. White spoke about her career as a school teacher and how her solution for conflict in her classroom was for the students to talk it over. She believes that leaders in the international community need to come together and meet with Syrian leaders in order to resolve the conflict.

The original idea for the vigil was spawned by at the end of last week, with similar vigils taking place across the nation Monday night. St. Thomas Aquinas members like Stromberg heard about the event on Saturday, Sept. 7.

The announcement for the vigil was announced at Mass on Sunday, and an email invitation was sent out to members of the Ames and ISU communities.

The vigil’s program began with a reading called “Just Imagine” which spoke about a world without war in it and was followed by a prayer for Syria.

“We’ve tried war, and it doesn’t work, especially in the Middle East,” White said.