Hundreds gather to pray for victims of Seton Hill University bus crash

Joe Napsha
| Sunday, March 17, 2013, 11:12 p.m.

The Seton Hill University community came together Sunday night to console each other in grieving the death of lacrosse coach Kristina Quigley and her unborn child, who were killed in a bus accident along the Pennsylvania Turnpike Saturday morning near Carlisle.

“We are a family here. We wanted to show our support. The girls lacrosse team is hurting. We are here for them,” said Michael Parente, 18, of Penn Hills, who echoed the sentiments of many at the Mass at St. Joseph Chapel on the Greensburg campus.

In a touching memorial Mass attended by more than 650 students, university officials and community leaders who crammed into St. Joseph Chapel, lined the walls, filled the chapel lobby and flowed down a flight of steps, Greensburg Catholic Diocese Bishop Lawrence Brandt extended his sympathy to the entire Seton Hill community, asking that the Lord be a merciful judge to those who were killed in the crash – Quigley, 30, of Greensburg; her unborn child and the bus driver, Anthony Guaetta, 61, of Johnstown.

Good Friday, which will be observed March 29, is a “tremendous truth to console us,” said Brandt.

“If we unite our suffering with that of Jesus Christ through prayer, we will receive the strength of God to carry our cross, no matter how heavy,” Brandt said in brief remarks.

Quigley, a Baltimore native in her second season coaching the women's lacrosse team, was killed while en route to a match at Millersville University in Millersville. Three of her 23 players on the bus were hospitalized with injuries. In a show of support, members of Quigley's lacrosse team attended the Mass wearing their uniforms and sat near the altar.

Michele Ridge, chair of the Seton Hill board of trustees and the wife of former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, extended prayers for Quigley, her unborn child; her husband, Glenn; their son, Gavin; Guaetta; and the women's lacrosse team.

The Rev. Jeremiah O'Shea, Seton Hill chaplain, asked that the “souls of Christina Quigley, her unborn baby” ... “rest in the arms of the Lord.”

Seton Hill University President JoAnne Boyle was unable to attend the Mass, but said in a statement that “the Seton Hill community is deeply touched by the hundreds of e-mails and phone calls from alumni, college and university presidents, athletic directos and friends conveying messages of heartfelt sympathy and concern for Kristina Quigley's family, our lacrosse players and coaches and all of our students.”

St. Vincent College President Brother Norman W. Hipps said he wanted to attend the Mass to show the support for Seton Hill.

Hipps said he knows the affect of a death of a coach on the college community. St. Vincent College's women's basketball coach, Kristen Zawacki, died on Christmas Day 2010, of an apparent heart attack.

In a show of support, athletes from Seton Hill's other sports teams attended the Mass.

“We know what it's like to be a team. Our heart goes out to the them,” said one member of the men's track team, who declined to be identified.

Athletes from Mercyhurst University in Erie and the men's lacrosse team from Robert Morris University in Moon traveled to the Seton Hill campus for the memorial service.

Prior to the Mass, mourners visited a tribute set up next to the campus baseball field Sunday afternoon.

Bouquets of flowers, stuffed animals, a lacrosse stick, a whistle and a candle sit in front of a team photo and signs reading “In memoriam – Kristina Quigley – Forever a Griffin” and “It is in times of great tragedy when the true spirit of Seton Hill unites us as one.”

A couple of university coaches came up with the idea for the tribute, said Chris Snyder, athletic director at Seton Hill. He said anybody is welcome to leave something.

Before the first pitch of Sunday's men's baseball game on campus, the teams and fans observed a moment of silence.

On Seton Hill's Greensburg campus Sunday afternoon, mourners visited a tribute set up next to the campus baseball field.

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