Over 50 people gathered on Wrentham Town Common to support the victims and families of the horrific Boston Marathon bombing that took three lives and injured over a 100 on Monday, April 15. The prayer service was held at 7 p.m. and was put together by Joseph Botaish, Gail Pratt and the local spiritual leadership from Wrentham's churches. "The events that happened at today's marathon affect us all in many ways," Botaish said. "I find the best thing to do at a time like this is to get together and pray."
The service opened with the words of St. Mary Parish priest Bill Lohan who noted that we gather on Patriots' Day, a day where we remember the bravery of the men and women who fought so long ago for freedom. Lohan prayed for both those injured and the first responders. "We commend those who died today and those who have been injured to your love and your care," Lohan said in his pray. "We thank you for the bravery and love that was shown by all those who responded today in Boston to this tragedy. We ask you to be with them as they process what they've been through and to help them heal."
Senior Pastor Kenneth Landin, Original Congregational Church spoke of the need for all of us "to be in community" as the a result of the events in Boston. "Our response is to be both shocked and saddened by the attack at such an iconic event as the Boston Marathon," Landin said. "We come to offer prayers for the victims to offer thanksgiving to emergency responders and health care works and for peace and security to return to our Commonwealth."
Landin continued by saying, "We remember that the gifts of freedom and liberty come at the cost of being open and vulnerable and to be exposed to those who will take it away with violence and threats of harm. It is at these times that our souls are tested and identity is challenged."
Landin also discussed how at moments of tragedy people can help by giving of themselves. "One of the greatest gifts that God has given us to give to others is ourselves," he said. "We may always offer consolation, comfort and especially in moments of crisis we may remind each other of the promises of faith that may encourage us today, tonight, and in all the work we do in building community in the days to come."
(Click to read the full text of Landin's prayer.)
Pastor Doug Pettit from the Sheldonville Baptist Church also spoke of prayers for those who died tragically and the first responders that comforted the victims. "We gather this evening to weep with those whose lives have been shattered by tragedy," he said. "We gather to pray for those affected and for those who are giving of themselves even now to lend aid."
St. Mary Parish Pastor Bill Schmidt told those gathered how he and his family waited for word on his nephew Eric, a Boston Police officer stationed at the Marathon's finish line, the site of the bombing. His nephew is scheduled to be married on Saturday and his finance is a nurse who was working the medical tents at the race. The hours since the explosions were a time of waiting. "For my family it is a time of unknowing and dread," he said. "So many families are feeling that this evening."
State Representative Dan Winslow (pictured) also attended. He held a lit candle throughout the ceremony. "I wanted to come here and join you all in thought and prayer," he said. "Today is a day of prayer and reflection to connect with the people who need us most and tomorrow is a day for resolve."
Members of Wrentham Fire Department were on hand and were recognized by Botaish. The crowd gave them a round of applause.
In attendance was Wrentham resident Jan Battikha who was struck at the disconnect between seeing the joy and exuberance of the runners crossing the finish line with the horrors of the bombing. Battikha said it was disgusting evil that took place.
The ceremony ended at 7:20 and the bells in the Original Congregational Church rang out as the crowd slowly dispersed.