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Bishop: Christ’s Love Conquers Sorrow of Sandy Hook

Josalee Thrift

Catholic News Agency - published on 12/17/13

Despite the bitterness of loss, the Christian faith offers “the victory of Christ’s love over any and all suffering and pain,” the local bishop said.

One year after the murder of 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the local Catholic bishop says that Jesus Christ’s love can be victorious, even over such “profound” sorrow.

Despite the bitterness of loss, the Christian faith offers “the victory of Christ’s love over any and all suffering and pain,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport said.

“The love of Our Lord does not necessarily take away the pain, because the loss is real and profound. The sorrow is profound,” he told CNA Dec. 12. “To lose a child is a wound that perhaps never completely heals. But love is victorious over all sin.”

The bishop strongly praised the response of parents who had lost their children.

“I have been absolutely impressed, deeply impressed by the faith of the parents who I have met, who lost children and yet still remain very strong in their faith and their conviction that love will conquer.”

Dec. 14 marks the one-year anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On that day in 2012, a lone gunman, who had shot and killed his mother that morning, entered the school and gunned down 26 people before taking his own life.

Bishop Caggiano celebrated a morning Mass at the local Catholic church, St. Rose of Lima, to mark the one-year anniversary of the shooting. He also blessed a memorial at the church, which hosted most of the funeral services for the shooting victims.

Bishop Caggiano arrived in Connecticut to become head of the Diocese of Bridgeport in September 2013, nine months after the atrocity. He celebrated Mass in Newtown shortly after his installation.

He said that on his first trip to Newtown, he was “so deeply impressed” by the community’s use of the motto, “We choose love.”

“It’s their way of life, they really do choose love over bitterness or over anger,” he added. “In that sense, I think the Catholic faith offers a great testimony that Christ’s love has conquered death not only at Calvary, but in the lives of all of us.”

Priests at St. Rose of Lima Church were among the first people to respond to the shooting at the school, located only minutes away. The church’s pastor, Monsignor Robert Weiss, played a prominent role in consoling the community. He celebrated several funeral Masses for the shooting victims.

One year later, in the parish’s bulletin for Dec. 15, Msgr. Weiss is encouraging parishioners to “never forget that our God is a God of hope, pure love, goodness and forgiveness.”

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