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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fr. Dougherty eulogizes Newtown

Thank you for taking the time to attend this Memorial this morning as part of our Maryknoll Family.

Exactly one week ago, each of us began to heart the news about the tragedy that quickly overwhelmed Newtown, Connecticut.. Through last week and into this week, our collective hearts have been broken and many tears have been shed here at Maryknoll and across the nation.

During any time of sorrow, especially when something unexpected occurs, many of us are at a  loss for words. We simply do not know what to say. Life really is so precious and fragile.

This very human reaction, though possibly awkward at times, can be refreshing. It allows us to fill that silence in our own way, and we can choose to do with our tears, with our broken hearts, with our hugs and thoughts, and with our prayers. Last Monday morning on my way to n appointment, I noticed at the  school bus stops there seemed to be more parents hugging their children--or maybe you just see it differently after a tragedy like Newtown.

Today as we have done everyday since last Friday and as we will continue to do for many more days to come, the Maryknoll family asks our Lord to hear our  prayers for the beautiful children of Newtown, to listen to our words for all their teachers and the emergency responders, and to comfort all the parents, extended families and friends. And we ask the Lord to provide the community with strength and courage as it continues to pull tightly together in love and support to heal the pain.

We also pray for the soul of Nancy Lanza and others in the Lanza family who grieve through this tragedy. And our faith tells us to seek God's mercy for Adam Lanza.

We may never learn the answers to all our questions about this tragedy about this tragedy. And, when answers are elusive, or the answers we do have are difficult to understand, we often turn to God to ask Him why He could allow this to occur to us.

For those of us who have a deep faith in God, bad things often do not make sense to us. But, rather than continue to ask God "why?", let us, instead, begin too ask ourselves "who."

To who shall we tun during this time of pain? The answer to that question is easy.It is a renewed faith in our Lord. We turn to God for peace. We turn to God for comfort and we saw the people of Newtown doing this: scenes of people going to churches and other places of worship.

It our faith that tells us that GOd, at the proper time, will make sense of this moment. Our faith allows us to trust God to lead us through this difficult time and the many others that certainly will occur during each of our lifetimes.

A few days ago, I again heard the words to a prayer attribute to a former bishop in Michegan. The prayer is: "The Work to build the Kingdom of God Continues." I will not read the entire prayer to you now, but I found the first four lines may be of comfort to all of us today.

"It helps now and then to step back and take the long view. The KIngdom of GOd is not only beyond our efforts; it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our life time only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us."

Since last Sunday, a large sign has hung on the overpass of Interstate 84 where it passes through Newtown. It says simply, "Pray for Newtown."

We have. We do today. And we will continue to pray for Newtown, ourselves and the Kingdom of God.

I also saw this prayer referring to the Holy Innocents--the group of babies who were killed around the time of Christ's birth.

     "Holy Innocents, you died before you were old enough to know what life means, pray for all children who die young that God may gather them into His loving arms.

     "Holy Innocents, your parents grieved for you with deep and lasting sorrow, pray for all parents who have lost young children that God may wrap a warm blanket of comfort around them.

     "Holy Innocents, you who are now in Heaven, pray for all of us that one day we may join you there to bask in God's love forever."

O loving God and Mary, our loving mother and Our Lady of Maryknoll, we pray to you for all the victims, heroes, families and friends in Newtown.

Thank you again, for your presence, prayers and love. May you have a Blessed, Peaceful and Merry Christmas!

Edward M. Dougherty, M.M.
Superior General

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