NOTRE DAME — A prayer service was held at the University of Notre Dame for the 51 people killed in last week's New Zealand mosque shootings.
Leaders from many religions spoke to offer their prayers and outlook. The message of solidarity rang from every speaker.
They want to learn from what happened and instead of let hatred win, use it as a way to become closer to others.
Thursday's vigil saw people of different faiths standing side by side for that exact reason: overcoming hatred and violence together. Regardless of religion, people joined as one to remember those who were killed.
Companez says it's time to reach out and mend with each other.
"Reach out to someone who is different from you. Say hello, start a relationship, and then nurture it. Grow it and treasure it," said Companez.
Notre Dame President Father Jenkins says the attack has left heavy emotions, but says people should respond with love instead of retaliating with more violence.
Candles, held by those gathered were brought together as a symbolic message of unity.
"The perpetrator wanted to divide us, and so we are redoubling our efforts to reach out to each other. That's the best way of responding to such hatred," said Rashied Omar, Islamic studies scholar.
Before ending in hugs, Ebrahim Moosa called upon people to help condemn violence while regaining a sense of humanity.
"We must stand firm against those who cowardly target religious sanctuaries and places of worship. Since their expressions of hate, brutality, revenge and wanted terror will always be unacceptable to people of decency and dignity," said Moosa, Islamic studies professor.
Leaders say it's powerful to see everyone come together, but hope it's the last time for this reason. With a long history of violent attacks at religious sites, Moosa says there needs to be some sort of protection to prevent it from happening again.