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Marathon bombing remembered two years on

Boston Marathon survivor Jane Richard, sister of 8-year-old Martin Richard who was killed in the bombings, sings the National Anthem along with the rest of the St. Ann Children and Teen Choir from Dorchester at the Red Sox Home opener April 13. The second anniversary of the April 15, 2013 bombing was marked with remembrances and ceremonies throughout the region. AP Photo/Elise Amendola

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BOSTON -- At memorial events throughout the week, Catholics of the Archdiocese of Boston stood shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow citizens to memorialize and mark the two-year anniversary of the bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Many churches rang their bells at 2:49 p.m., the time that the first of two bombs exploded on Boylston Street.

"What we as good citizens and we as good Catholics do is we try to help the city to heal," said Father Paul Soper, current administrator of St. Brendan and St. Ann Parishes in Dorchester.

In the aftermath of the bombing, the Boston Catholic community supported the Richard family, parishioners of St. Ann Parish in Dorchester, a family deeply impacted by the tragedy.

The attack killed then 8-year-old Martin Richard and took the leg of his younger sister Jane Richard. With the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ending in a conviction and heading into the sentencing phase, the Richard family could be seen accompanied by their former pastor and friend Father Sean Connor at public events throughout the city the week of the anniversary.

The family participated in the Red Sox home opener against the Washington Nationals, April 13, at Fenway Park with members of their parish.

Henry Richard, Martin's older brother, handed the ball to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for the ceremonial first pitch.

Confined to a wheelchair for a time after the blasts, Jane Richard stood alongside members of the St. Ann Children and Teen Choir as they sang together the National Anthem before the game.

"That also was for those children a way of their using one of the gifts that God has given every one of them, as an extraordinary musician, to help the city to heal," Father Soper said.

On the day of the anniversary of the bombings, April 15, Father Connor again joined the family at a memorial service at the site of the blasts on Boylston Street. Mayor Martin J. Walsh participated, and Jane Richard helped unveil commemorative banners.

That same day at St. Brendan School, associated with St. Brendan Parish which is in collaborative ministry with St. Ann in Neponset, students, educators and families gathered to honor those killed and injured in the attacks.

"This whole month we have been talking about this. If you were to speak to any of the students, everyone could tell you something about this day and that it has some meaning to them. I love that. I love that they know what's going on in their community, in their neighborhood, and that they always turned to God for peace and healing through this," Principal Maura M. Burke told The Pilot.

As a teacher read the names of the four people who lost their lives in relation to the attacks -- Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi, and MIT police officer Sean Collier -- students released an environmentally-safe white balloon for each of them.

Each class of the school also released either a yellow or a blue balloon as part of the memorial as well.

"First and foremost we are a Catholic school, so we always turn to prayer in celebration and in sorrow. This is a combination of both," Burke said.

Chris Ryan, a father of one of the students at St. Brendan's told The Pilot of his respect for the Richard family, whom he saw on the news at the earlier memorial event.

"They have a lot of courage, a lot of strength. I don't know if I could do it," he said.

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