Last Thursday morning, more than 500 young women gathered on the lawn of St. Mary Academy — Bay View, in Riverside, to pray for the safe return of the schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria one month ago.
Standing in front of a statue of Mary, they listened as peer ministers offered readings, reflections and prayers, and sang along with Bay View’s Chamber Choir. Vittoria Pacifico-DeBenedictis, Bay View’s president, then asked those gathered to turn towards the street to watch as four leaders of the Mercy Action Club, an Upper School community service group, processed across the lawn with a banner that read, “Bay View Academy, Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Supports #BringBackOurGirls.” The group then displayed the banner on the Academy’s fence. President DeBenedictis announced that the banner would remain in place until the Nigerian schoolgirls are returned home. The Bay View community has committed to continue praying for the safe return of the kidnapped schoolgirls, and for the right to education for girls and young women throughout the world.