Newman Center holds memorial Mass for Connecticut shooting victims

Saturday, December 15, 2012 | 5:05 p.m. CST; updated 8:21 p.m. CST, Saturday, December 15, 2012
The Rev. Thomas Saucier gives a special Mass Saturday at the Newman Center to pray for the victims and their families in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. After talking with a parishioner on Facebook, Saucier decided bringing the community together in prayer was a more positive action than arguing about gun laws on the Internet.

COLUMBIA — The Newman Center opened its doors Saturday for a memorial Mass honoring those who lost their lives in Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. 

Nearly 50 people filled the pews of the Newman Center Chapel to pray for the victims and their families. 


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"We are here to come together in prayer to show our support for those who lost their loved ones," the Rev. Thomas Saucier said.

Saucier said people should not blame God but should look for direction instead.

"Where does the loss of 20 children and six adults fit into God's plan?" Saucier asked. "Is it to show us how morally corrupt we have become as a society?" 

Joan Butcher, a mother of four daughters, turned to prayer as a way to be in solidarity with those affected by the tragedy.

"There is nothing you can do to help the situation but you feel like you need to do something," Butcher said. "Even if you don't know (the families) you feel like you should be one with them in prayer."

Bob Heinz, a former teacher, said the shooting made him think back on his past students. Heinz pointed out people naturally come together after tragic events. 

"We all feel so helpless," Heinz said. "What can we do? We can pray." 

Saucier said that despite varying religious attitudes, he believes that everyone shares the same sentiment toward the victims.

"There is no doubt in anyone's mind that those children are in heaven," Saucier said.

Supervising editor is Emilie Stigliani.

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