Raleigh, N.C. — Parishioners at Sacred Heart Cathedral in downtown Raleigh came together in shock and sadness Monday evening to pray for the victims of a massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.
"People are hurting," said parishioner Anne Werdel. "It was a great time to bring people together."
Twenty first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., were gunned down in their classrooms Friday by a heavily armed man. Six members of the school staff, the gunman and his mother also died in the rampage.
There was a sense at the Raleigh prayer service that what happened in Newtown could happen anywhere.
"I am a teacher and have children of the same age," said Michelle Dorsey. "It was just shocking and so, so sad."
Werdel said the prayers, with verses such as "Graciously listen, hear our cries of anguish" and "Spare us and save us, comfort us in sorrow," are helping the Raleigh community cope with a tragedy that has touched the nation.
"God did not cause this. It is up to us to make a world where these kinds of things do not happen," she said. "Losing a child never stops hurting. If you are human, you feel it."