Prayer, wreath-laying mark first anniversary of Boston Marathon bombing
Story and photos by Gregory L. Tracy
Catholic News Service
BOSTON (CNS) -- The families of the three people killed in the Boston Marathon bombing explosions a year ago marked the first anniversary with poignant remembrances and emotional testimonies.
Prayer and a simple wreath-laying ceremony took place at the two sites where their loved ones lost their lives and scores were injured April 15, 2013.
The families of Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu and Martin Richard accompanied by Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick arrived on Boylston Street at the site of the second explosion just before 8:15 a.m. April 15.
The families and dignitaries gathered around the spot marked by an honor guard of police officers and other first responders as Cardinal O'Malley proclaimed a Scripture reading.
The public and media were kept at a distance, but the cardinal's office said he read Chapter 4, Verses 13 to 18, of the First Letter to the Thessalonians.
The passage says in part: "We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. ... We who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words."
Following the reading, bagpipers played "Amazing Grace" and Mayor Walsh helped the brother and sister of Martin Richard -- Henry, 11, and Jane, 8, who lost her leg in the explosion -- lay a wreath at the site. Young Martin was killed just a few days shy of his ninth birthday.
The governor, mayor and cardinal exchanged hugs and gestures of consolation with the families as they remained at the site for a few moments before walking slightly more than 200 yards down Boylston Street toward the marathon finish line and the site of the first explosion.
There, according to his office, the cardinal offered the following prayer: "God of all consolation, through your providential care the darkness we experienced gives way to light, and our grief and sorrow are joined to new hope and the promise of the future. Grant our loved ones who have died the grace and peace of eternal life.
"May our continued prayers of thanksgiving for the gift of their lives be met by their prayers for us, and may those be a source of consolation and strength. May the gift of your love remain with us always, strengthening our spirits and enabling us to go forward to accomplish that which is right and good. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen," the cardinal prayed.
After the second wreath was placed, the families again remained for a time before departing quietly.
In addition to the three victims who were killed, more than 260 others were injured in the two Boston Marathon explosions. A fourth fatality, Sean Collier, who was a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, was shot and killed April 18, 2013, allegedly by the two bombing suspects as they attempted to flee the Boston area.
- Tracy is managing editor of The Pilot, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston.