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Father Ken Dos Santos, MIC, prepares to bless the “Protectors of the Sanctity of Life” plaque that includes the names of six staff members killed in Newtown.

A Remembrance for Sandy Hook Victims

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Photo: Felix Carroll

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The names of the 20 school children killed in Newtown last December are etched in glass tiles in the Shrine of the Holy Innocents.

Photo: Felix Carroll

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More than 150 pilgrims visited the Shrine on Saturday, July 20, and celebrated a Mass of Remembrance for the Holy Souls, including those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut last December.

By Chris Sparks (Jul 20, 2013)
It was standing-room only in the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy on Saturday as pilgrims joined the Marian Fathers in celebrating a Mass of Remembrance for those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last December — and for all the Holy Innocents.

Following Mass and the 3 o'clock prayers, Shrine Rector Fr. Ken Dos Santos, MIC, led a procession of pilgrims and Marian seminarians from the National Shrine, down the hill to the Shrine of the Holy Innocents.

The Shrine of the Holy Innocents provides a sacred place of prayer and healing for parents and others who have been touched by the loss of a child through miscarriage, abortion, illness, or other tragedies.

The names of the 20 school children killed by a gunman on Dec. 14, 2012 in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., were recently etched in glass tiles along the Shrine's walls, along with the names of dozens of other children who have been memorialized in recent years. The names of the six staff members from Sandy Hook who were also killed are included in the Shrine's "Protectors of the Sanctity of Life" plaque.

Father Ken blessed the memorials with holy water and prayer, first the memorial to the children, then the memorial to their teachers and principal.

"Merciful God, soothe the hearts of all parents who have lost their children to illness or tragedy, especially these children who lost their lives at the Sandy Hook Elementary School," he said. "Heavenly Father, in Your goodness send Your blessing upon this memorial. May it serve as a reminder of Your sacrifice on the cross for the love of us all and of the selfless sacrifice of those adults who gave their lives to protect the innocent lives of the children who attend the Sandy Hook Elementary School."

Marian staff member Ellen Miller, who works as Fr. Joseph's director of Special Gifts, explained that after the disaster at Sandy Hook, "Fr. Ken decided we should do a memorial for all of the children in Newtown and all of their teachers and the principal who were killed, and that's what we did."

Children memorialized at the shrine and their families are remembered at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy daily in the Rosary for Life, in Holy Mass, during the Hour of Great Mercy, and in special Masses on Dec. 12 (the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe), Dec. 28 (the Feast of the Holy Innocents), and on the third Saturday in July.

When asked why he had decided to come to the dedication of the memorials to the children and their educators, Shrine pilgrim Ed Oliveri from St. Margaret Parish in Lowell, Mass., said, "I think it was a tragedy that affected all of us in the world. Everybody has children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews. It's just so tragic, so difficult to deal with."

Another pilgrim agreed. "I think the experience of Sandy Hook affected all of us in the country, not just in Connecticut, so when they mentioned that [memorial dedication,] I said, 'I will definitely come down,'" said Ed Ciampa of St. John the Evangelist Parish in North Chelmsford, Mass.

To learn more about the Shrine of the Holy Innocents or commemorate a lost loved one, visit memorialsonedenhill.org.

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A friend - Jul 21, 2013

To the Rector of the Shrine of the Divine Mercy -Dear Fr. Ken, Thankyou for having a special Mass for the souls of the little children of Sandy Hook and for their families. It is so important to acknowledge the dignity of the human person. It is very much appreciated. God's Blessings!

Lori - Jul 22, 2013

Dear Fr. Ken, Thank you for memorializing the children and adults from Sandy Hook at the Shrine of the Holy Innocents. Please also pray for Msgr. Robert E. Weiss, Pastor of St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church where many of the children's funerals took place and all the responders.