Will you breathe with me now… will you pray with me now…
God of Grace, Spirit of Peace,
You are hard to find this hour,
Though we know we must come to hold you in our hearts, someday, once more.
We stand before a school-house tragedy.
We pray for comfort for the families grieving the loss of their
Sons and daughters,
We pray for strength for the many families across our nation who
can too easily imagine this in our own neighborhoods.
We are grateful for the educators and the police who make sure this nightmare is so very uncommon in our land.
May we learn to appreciate the blessings we have sitting next to us right now,
To allow ourselves to share our love unhindered by yesterday’s argument,
Or last year’s slight.
To remember the words of Mr. Rogers’ mother – “to look for the helpers amidst the tragedy. There are always helpers.”
Teach us to be the helpers in our communities,
To honor those who have died by living our lives with generosity,
With a warmth visible in our faces –
Knowing that for some that may be the only warmth they see this day.
May this tragedy finally teach us
that our systems of privileging the gun owners,
over the victims of gun-based violence,
is morally flawed at the core.
And may we, who are gathered together this hour,
be inspired to work toward ensuring access to mental health services becomes easier than access to guns.
We will pause now to read the names of the victims:
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Madeleine F. Hsu, 6
Catherine V. Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison N. Wyatt, 6
Rachel Davino, 29
Dawn Hochsprung, 47, principal
Anne Marie Murphy, 52, special education teacher
Lauren Rousseau, 30, teacher
Mary Sherlach, 56, school psychologist
Victoria Soto, 27, first grade teacher