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Boston faithful come together for prayer, worship

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm •  Published: April 21, 2013
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BOSTON (AP) — Four glowing white pillar candles illuminated photographs of the people killed in bombing-connected violence in the Boston area last week as the city sought comfort in religious services on the first Sunday after the blasts plunged the community into days of chaos.

The photographs showing the faces of 8-year-old Martin Richard, 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell and 26-year-old Sean Collier, a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, were propped up on the altar at Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross, where Roman Catholic Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley spoke about the city's pain and looked ahead to its spiritual recovery.

"Everyone has been profoundly affected by this wanton violence and destruction inflicted upon our community by two young men unknown to all of us," said O'Malley, speaking to a crowd of mourners that included Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, who sat in the front row of the cavernous cathedral with other elected officials. "It's very difficult to understand what was going on in their heads. What demons were operating, what ideologies or politics, or the perversions of their religion."

Two Muslim brothers from Russia, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, are suspected in Monday's Boston Marathon bombings. Their motive remains unclear. The older brother was killed during a getaway attempt, while the younger brother was captured Friday night after a gunfight with police and remains in a hospital.

Along the barricade that has become a shrine near the marathon finish line, hundreds of people sang hymns and prayed beneath a brilliant blue sky.

"Guide my feet while I run this race," they sang.

Bouquets of flowers, small white crosses and American flags are piled at the makeshift memorial, where people have been gathering to pay their respects ever since the explosions.

Susan Ackley, a priest at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church a few blocks from the blast site, said religious leaders had visited the area "to clear the air and to bless it." She encouraged people to forgive the perpetrators, noting that her congregation had prayed for the suspect who had been killed and the other who remains in police custody.

"Instantaneous forgiveness, I think, is impossible," she said. "That's not what needs to happen. But I think it is the role of the churches and the synagogues to try to hold this community of human beings together."

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