Carmelite Events

Remembering the Anniversary of Sandy Hook

Sister Helena - Monday, December 15, 2014


by Mother Mark Louis Anne, O.Carm.

On the Third Sunday of Advent, December 14, the parish of St. Rose in Newtown, CT solemnly celebrated the second anniversary of the tragedy in Sandy Hook Elementary School.  The Mass began with the reading of names.  As each victim's name was read, a bell tolled and a teen age parishioner would process up the aisle with a large votive candle, which was then lighted and  placed on the altar.  The original flame for these candles was flown in by private jet from Bethlehem and delivered to the parish by one of the first responders.  Msgr. Weiss found it difficult to preach on the theme of the Sunday - joy - but reminded the congregation that together in Christ they were able to move forward even as they continue to grieve. His words struck such a chord that those present rose to give him a standing ovation.  A hymn specially composed for the parish was sung by the four part choir at the Preparation of the Gifts, and after Mass Msgr. Weiss invited those present to light a candle at the outdoor memorial by the statue of Our Lady and ring one of the huge brass bells that had been donated by the Franciscan friars. 

Attending this Mass was a powerful experience, and I assured Msgr. Weiss that he and the parish continued to be in our thoughts and prayers.  As we prepare for the birth of the Light of the World may we keep in mind the darkness that still covers our world - the lack of respect for human life and the violence that has become a commonplace occurrence.  December 14 is also, of course, the feast of St. John of the Cross, who spoke eloquently about the Dark Night of the Soul.  Humankind seems to presently be in this dark night, and only the light and love of Christ can lift it from the gloom.  Msgr. Weiss asked us to ring the bells loud and clear in the spirit of hope and determination.  May we pray for the light to overcome the darkness and the joy of Christmas to reign in our hearts.


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