The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

December 16, 2012

Questions of "why" and "how" fill church in Connecticut town

(Continued)

NEWTOWN, Conn. —

Boxes of tissues were placed strategically in each pew and on window sills. The altar was adorned with bouquets, one in the shape of a broken heart, with a zigzag of red carnations cutting through the white ones.

The Rev. Jerald Doyle, the diocesan administrator, officiated. Letters of condolence from the pope and Archbishop William Lori, who left the Bridgeport diocese this year to become archbishop in Baltimore, were read at the start of Mass.

In his homily, Doyle tried to answer the question of how parishioners could find joy in the holiday season with so much sorrow surrounding them.

"You won't remember what I say, and it will become unimportant," he said. "But you will really hear deep down that word that will finally and ultimately bring peace and joy. That is the word by which we live. That is the word by which we hope. That is the word by which we love."

At Adath Israel, nestled in a remote an area of stone walls, rolling hills and woods, people slowly approached the simple cedar-shake structure as a light, cold rain fell. They filed past a blue-and-gold "Happy Hanukkah" banner and a bronze tablet honoring those lost in the Nazi Holocaust.

"We are forever grateful to those who fight tyranny, to our country, and to this wonderful community for allowing us to gather here and practice our faith in peace," the plaque read.

Sunday classes went on as planned at the temple, but without Rabbi Praver. He was meeting with Noah's family to planning the boy's funeral.

A police officer kept watch over the parking lot, but congregation president Andrew Paley crossed the road to speak to the media.

Paley's twin sons, fourth-graders, were at the school — one in the art room, the other in the gym. They heard the shots, saw the bodies.

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