BY Ian Dunn | April 19 2013 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Prayers after Boston explosions

Pope, new advisor Cardinal O’Malley, express grief; Catholic schoolboy among dead

The Holy Father led prayers this week for the people of Boston after a fatal terrorist bomb attack targeted the US city’s Patriots’ Day marathon.

Two explosions at around 18.50 GMT on Monday at the finishing line of the Boston Marathon, and one later at JFK Library, killed three people and left an estimated 176 injured. Among the dead is Martin Richard (below), an 8-year-old pupil at Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy. He had been at the finish line to see his father, Bill, complete the marathon when the bombs went off. His mother and his younger sister, who were also present, were both seriously wounded. In a statement, his school described him as a ‘kind, caring, and loving young boy who had great excitement for learning.’

Pope Francis quickly responded to the worst terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11 in 2001 by sending a telegram to Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston—one of his newly appointed special advisors—saying he was ‘deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of violence’ and assuring him of ‘his sympathy and closeness in prayer.’

“His Holiness invokes God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering, and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response,” the telegram read. “At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good, working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.”

Cardinal O’Malley hailed the ‘bravery and heroism’ of first responders to the horrific attack and asked the city and the world to pray for the victims and their families saying he ‘joins all people of good will in expressing deep sorrow following the senseless acts of violence perpetrated at the Boston Marathon.’

“Our prayers and concern are with so many who experienced the trauma of these acts, most especially the loved ones of those whose lives were lost and those who were injured, and the injured themselves,” he added.

The cardinal also praised Boston’s leadership and  said that he and other religious leaders would be leading prayers and memorial services for all the victims and their families.

“In the midst of the darkness of this tragedy we turn to the light of Jesus Christ, the light that was evident in the lives of people who immediately turned to help those in need today,” he said. “We stand in solidarity with our ecumenical and interfaith colleagues in the commitment to witness the greater power of good in our society and to work together for healing.”

As of April 16, no one had stepped forward to claim responsibility for the attack.

Patriots’ Day is a civic holiday in Massachusetts that commemorates the first battles of the American Revolution.


—This story ran in full in the April 19 print edition of the SCO, where there is also more on the Richard family


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