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Paris victims remembered at cathedral Mass

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Local faithful gathered at a special Mass Nov. 15 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to remember those killed and injured in the Paris terrorist attacks of Nov. 13, and to pray for peace.

During the Mass, Father Kevin O'Leary, the rector of the cathedral, proclaimed the Gospel reading in both English and French, and spoke of showing love in the face of terrorism during his homily.

"Heaven and earth might pass away, but (Christ's) words will never pass away. His words, they call us to a sense of peace, justice, and love -- they are ultimate weapons to defeat even the worst of terrorists," said Father O'Leary.

A prayer of mourning was offered, and the numerous people who crowded the church prayed for those who died in the Paris attacks and for their loved ones.

Also during the Mass, Father O'Leary read a statement on the Paris attacks by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, who was in Baltimore for the annual fall meeting of the U.S. bishops.

"There is absolutely no justification for the heinous actions which took place in Paris this past Friday. We decry all such violence, which serves only to cause pain and suffering on the part of all who are directly impacted and the international community," said the cardinal in his statement.

"May those who would strike out against others turn their hearts and minds to the peaceful resolution of disputes and embrace respect for the dignity and sanctity of the lives of all people," he added.

The attacks occurred during the night of Nov. 13, resulting in at least 129 deaths and over 350 people injured. A group of terrorists thought to be affiliated with the Islamic State carried out the attacks at different locations in Paris, including at restaurants and a concert hall. The attackers were armed with AK-47 rifles and suicide explosive vests.

Raymond Flynn, former Boston mayor and U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, was among those at the Mass, and later spoke to The Pilot about the need to show support for the French people at this time of national tragedy.

"I thought it was beautiful that all the people from Boston came into the cathedral to show their support and respect for what transpired in Paris, and show their support to the French-American community here," he said.

Flynn went on to describe the history of the French in Boston, particularly their role in the early history of the Archdiocese of Boston. He noted that the first bishop of Boston, Bishop Jean-Louis Cheverus, was born in France.

"It was good to be part of (the Mass) to show our unity as Catholics, and to show our respect for the French, but also to reflect on the great contributions that French nuns and priests made in the development of Boston," he said.

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