Four glowing white pillar candles illuminated photographs of the people killed in bombing-connected violence in the Boston area last week, as the city sought comfort in religious services on the first Sunday after the blasts which plunged the community into days of chaos.
The photographs showing the faces of Martin Richard, 8, Lu Lingzi, 23, Krystle Campbell, 29, and Sean Collier, 26, a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; were propped up on the altar at Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross, where Roman Catholic Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley spoke about the city's pain and looked ahead to its spiritual recovery.
"Everyone has been profoundly affected by this wanton violence and destruction inflicted upon our community by two young men unknown to all of us," said O'Malley, speaking to a crowd of mourners that included Boston police Commissioner Edward Davis, who sat in the front row of the cavernous cathedral with other elected officials. "It's very difficult to understand what was going on in their heads. What demons were operating, what ideologies or politics, or the perversions of their religion."
Two Muslim brothers from Russia — Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and Tamerlan, 26 — are suspected in Monday's Boston Marathon bombings. Their motive remains unclear. The older brother was killed during a getaway attempt, while the other was captured Friday night and remains in a hospital.
Along the barricade that has become a shrine near the marathon finish line, hundreds of people sang hymns and prayed beneath a brilliant blue sky.
Susan Ackley, a priest at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church a few blocks from the blast site, said religious leaders had visited the area "to clear the air and to bless it." She encouraged people to forgive the perpetrators.
"Instantaneous forgiveness, I think, is impossible," she said. "That's not what needs to happen. But I think it is the role of the churches and the synagogues to try to hold this community of human beings together."
O'Malley echoed that sentiment, exhorting the congregation to keep the spirit of community generosity alive — and to spread love, not hate.