London Attacks Hit Home in the Heartland

London Attacks Hit Home in the Heartland
By: Lauren Keith

Cape Girardeau, MO -- Some of you may have special reason to be concerned about the London attacks, perhaps, because you have loved ones in that country right now!  A Southeast Missouri State University campus minister is among several Heartland residents in London now.  We spoke to him, by phone, just hours after the terrorist attacks. 

Father J. Friedel says, he's mostly stayed right inside his apartment or "flat" as they call it in Britain.  Father J. says, this has been one vacation full of surprises.  So far, he's seen some of the Live 8 concerts, the beginning of the G 8 Summit, and reaction once Londoners learned they will host the Olympics.  Father J. says, that mood has certainly gone from excitement to pure devastation.     

“When my alarm went off this morning, I turned on the news, the BBC, and suddenly I realized what was going on, and I knew relatively within ten minutes of the attacks.  So, I decided I would stay put," says Fr. Friedel.
The reverend certainly kept busy inside his London apartment.  He began phoning family and friends back in Southeast Missouri.
In the meantime, his colleagues at the SEMO Catholic Campus Ministry also are busy, answering emails from some of Father J’s concerned students.

One of the emails reads:  “Hi, Lesley.  I just heard about the bombings in London .  I was wondering if you all heard from Father J?  I hope he's okay, please let me know when you do.”  And when Father J's not answering some of those emails, he watches the British TV news, and says he worries how these attacks may affect his travel plans back to the states, later this month.

"Is this is the end or are we going to see more outbreaks of this in the coming days?  It may be too early to tell, but I hope and pray for the people and their safety here in London," said Father J.  
Meanwhile back at home, Father J's friends are praying for him.
"Well, I'm obviously delighted Father J. is fine and his mother. It makes me very sad though that a lot of people have been killed.  It just makes me sad these kinds of things are happening in the world," said Sister Susan Kienzler.
Both Father J. and his associate, Sister Susan Kienzler say their pastoral message has always been about compassion for people in all nations, but both admit, it now takes on an even deeper meaning.

"Our world is much smaller than we sometimes think it is!" said Sister Susan.  “God will still bring life even out of suffering and that's a very old message, and that part of the message will not change,” said Father J.

While Father J. continues his vacation in London , several other Heartland professors London trips are a bit up in the air!  Heartland News received word a professor and group of students from Murray State have a travel delay, but they still will leave for London later tonight.  And Thursday morning, an SIU professor had just boarded his plane back to the states, when the terrorist attacks hit London!

If you have a loved one in London, we’d love to hear from you.  Just call our toll free hotline at 800-455-KFVS.