Katia Faroun | Features Editor
Hundreds of candles were carried on A-Walk by students, faculty, friends and family on Feb. 4 in memory of Lucas Traverse, a Duquesne student who died last week.
The vigil, which took place at 1 p.m. following a memorial mass, invited the Duquesne commu- nity to support Traverse’s family and friends. Attendees gathered outside of the Laval House on A-Walk to collect a candle and prayer card and listen to some of Traverse’s friends and familyshare memories of his life.
“Lucas Traverse really was the best of us, and it breaks my heart that I can’t spend another day with him,” said Michael Bunce, a sophomore and president of Sigma Tau Gamma (Sig Tau), Traverse’s fraternity.
A sophomore in the Palumbo- Donahue School of Business, Traverse died on Saturday, Jan. 30 after being struck by a train in the South Side near Fourth Street and Color Park. His death is still under investigation by Pittsburgh Police, and his manner of death is still pending, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Before the vigil, a private memorial mass was held in the Duquesne Chapel in remembrance of Traverse. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, only members of Traverse’s family and fraternity were invited to attend the memorial in person, and masks were required in the chapel. Duquesne President Ken Gormley also attended the service.
Both the memorial mass and the candlelight vigil were live streamed for friends and mem- bers of the Duquesne commu- nity who wished to attend the memorial.
Fr. Bill Christy — who is also the adviser for Sig Tau — led the service, sharing prayers, songs and passages of scripture that celebrated the gift of life. His message focused on the unique quality of human life, and how in the Christian faith, life is believed to be eternal, continuing beyond death.
“[Lucas] is still part of us: of family, of university, of fraterni- ty. For that life, that spark, that breath — that is eternal,” Christy said.
Immediately following the memorial mass, Traverse’s family and fraternity brothers joined a crowd of about 200 members of the Duquesne community gathered on A-Walk for the candle- light vigil. Attendees stood alongside tables where volunteers handed out the candles and prayer cards. Counseling stations were also available.
Christy began the vigil with a prayer before inviting members of Traverse’s family and fraternity to present remarks in honor of Traverse’s life.
Anthony Anzevino, a senior at Duquesne that organized the vigil on behalf of Sig Tau, shared memories of meeting Traverse during recruitment, and how Traverse’s down-to-earth personality caught his attention.
“I remember saying, ‘This is a genuine and authentic guy. Someone who’s loyal and trustworthy. Someone you can count on.’ And that’s exactly who Lucas was to me and so many others,” Anzevino said. “What more could you ask for in a brother?”
Bunce echoed Anzevino’s statement, reflecting on his friendship with Traverse over the past two years.
“In my perspective, Lucas was just someone you wanted around you, someone you could trust, someone you could rely on when you needed it the most and someone who saw the bigger picture in life than being a 19-year-old college student,” Bunce said.
On behalf of herself and her husband, Robert, Patricia Traverse thanked the Duquesne community for its support of her son, and mentioned his excitement at returning to campus two weeks ago. Though the struggle of losing a loved one is shocking and painful, Patricia encouraged those close with Traverse to fo- cus on his memory and the joy that comes along with it.
“Our hope is that in time, the pain of losing him gives way to the joy in remembering him,” Patricia said.
Before Christy ended the half hour-long vigil with a prayer, Patricia ended her remarks with a reminder for those who were close to Traverse.
“Lucas was loved by his family, his friends, his brothers, and please know that he loved you too,” she said.
Recordings of the memorial mass and the vigil can be found on the Spiritan Campus Ministry’s Facebook page and the Duquesne University Conference and Event Services YouTube page, respectively.